A big trend over the last couple years in dog loving cities like San Francisco and San Diego are companies allowing dogs in the workplace. Lots of high tech companies often get credit for creating the dog friendly workplace (think Google, Salesforce, Etsy, and Autodesk), but in my experience small businesses have often led the way in allowing dogs to accompany their human companions to work. I personally have taken Watson with me to work on occasion and I can tell you from first hand experience that it is both amazing and challenging, but the amazing far outweighs the challenges. Here are just a few of the benefits of having a dog friendly business:
- Dogs can improve a company’s image. By allowing dogs in the office it can alter a customer’s perception of a business. Most customers have a positive response when they have the opportunity to interact with an employee’s dog and can help them relax and better enjoy their visit. Dogs in the office also tends to make a business appear more progressive and forward thinking.
- Having dogs around the office can improve morale and keep everyone happier. Dogs lighten the the mood with their playful demeanors. Plus, it has been scientifically proven that petting a dog can help reduce stress and release endorphins in the human body making people happier and thus more productive.
- A dog friendly workplace can help in recruiting top notch employees and lends a competitive edge in the crowded job hunting market. Allowing dogs in the workplace is an amazing benefit that will put your company over the edge and be overall more attractive to top talent.
- It can help to retain current employees because being able to bring a dog to work is viewed as an awesome perk. In a time when employee turnover seems to be at an all time high allowing your employees to enjoy the company of their furry BFF just might entice them to stay a while longer because dogs at work is a perk they won’t easily give up.
- Makes it easier for employees to stay late since they don’t have to rush home to walk or feed their dog.
- Gets people up from behind their desks for short breaks throughout the day which can contribute to more productivity and collaboration between coworkers. In fact, research has found that taking short breaks throughout the day allows workers a breather to clear their minds and return to work feeling refreshed and engaged.
Tips for Allowing Dogs in the Workplace
While having dogs in the workplace is beneficial and can be an amazing perk for your employees remember that there are proper steps that employers should take to ensure a healthy environment for their employees and their pets:
- Dogs just like their human counterparts should be healthy and maintain hygiene. All dogs should be groomed, cleaned and well free of contagions like fleas and ticks.
- All dogs should be required to be up to date on their vaccinations with proof from a veterinarian or administering clinic.
- Make sure that all employees introduce new dogs slowly. Dogs are still animals and need time to acclimate to new environments especially when there are other dogs and new people involved.
- All employees should let their coworkers know of training expectations and any dietary restrictions of their dogs so that all the office dogs receive consistent rewards for good behavior and they avoid any catastrophes from accidentally setting of a dog’s food allergy.
- Discuss any issues that arise and make sure that the door to HR is always open with any concerns about office dogs.
- And lastly, before implementing a dog policy in the workplace make sure there aren’t any employees or co-workers who are allergic to dogs or afraid of them. It will save you a whole lot of pain and disappointment in the long run.