Many companies are finding out that letting employees bring pets to work can actually improve business. In fact, the Society of Human Resource Management found that seven percent of employers let employees bring their pets to work. It’s become such a popular practice that the effects are being studied to find out the pros and cons of having pets in the workplace.
According to a 2012 study by Virginia Commonwealth University, pets at work can lower employee stress levels and improve job satisfaction. Other benefits offered up by pet-friendly businesses include: improved morale, higher collaboration and productivity, more exercise for employees who take their pets for walks during the day, and employee attraction and retention. Some report that the presence of pets actually improves interactions with customers.
Initiating and Maintaining a Pets-Allowed Policy
1. Consider the liabilities.
If you lease find out if pets are allowed in the building. Talk to an insurance provider about the consequences if a pet injures someone or damages the property. One solution is to have employees sign liability waivers. Check with your sector’s licensing bureau to find out if there are any regulations concerning pets in your workplace.
2. Develop a policy.
Create an official policy with guidelines for pets in the workplace. Include things like what happens if a pet chronically has “accidents” at work, requirements for a dog’s ability to obey commands, number of pets allowed at work on any given day and proof of vaccinations.
3. Be considerate of employees who don’t love animals.
Some employees are bound to be allergic to pets or simply don’t like to be around them. Respect their space and let others know to keep their pets away from these employees’ offices. Establish which areas where pets are not allowed to be, such as the kitchen, restrooms and meeting rooms if that’s preferred.
4. Encourage “walkies”.
Allow and even encourage dog-owning employees to take their at-work dog out for a walk at least one or two times during work hours. The employees will get exercise which can translate to improved health and productivity.
If your business involves working with animals from a professionals standpoint, be sure to purchase pet-related business insurance. You can find a list of the type of businesses need coverage and kinds of policies available in our article Understanding Business Insurance for Veterinarians and Animal Service.