Having dogs in the office can create a positive working environment. Office dogs offer many benefits, from lowering stress levels to even boosting employee productivity. Dogs can help employees to build relationships with each other, and they provide valuable comic relief in high-stress work situations. There are many reasons to take your dog to work.
But for dogs to be successful in an office setting, they need to be correctly and carefully introduced to the workplace. Whether you work from home and want to incorporate your dog in your workday, or if you’re considering bringing your dog into the office, you’ll need to put some thought into how to make the process go smoothly.
Implement a pet policy
If you’re in charge of a workplace setting and are considering allowing employees to bring their dogs, start by developing a pet policy. Your pet policy should outline details like health, age, and behavior requirements for pets, the steps employees need to take before bringing their dogs to the office, and the specific responsibilities that employees assume in having their pets in the workplace. It’s also a good idea to provide examples of situations where the pet would be asked to leave the office, such as if the dog instigates a fight with another dog, bites someone, or becomes a distraction to employees by barking or whining.
You may want to incorporate a waiver into the pet policy and should also come up with a process for addressing any issues or concerns that may occur with pets being in the office.
If you’re an employee who is planning to bring your dog into the workplace, start the process by thoroughly reading your workplace’s pet policy. Suggest that the business create one so that you and other dog owners will be aware of and can obey the business’ requests about having dogs in the office if none is currently in place. If you have any questions about the pet policy, ask them before you bring your dog into the office.
You’ll also need to designate pet-free areas if you have co-workers with allergies and consider hiring an office cleaning service to eliminate pet hair and other messes.
Revisit office decorating
You may need to reassess your office decorating approach when you know dogs will be present. Often, a minimalist approach is best with pets around. By removing excess clutter, keeping counters clear, and tucking everything neatly into a packed-away space, you’ll eliminate many of the things that a dog could knock over or break while also creating a clean, refreshing space.
During the holiday season, it’s important to be extra-careful with having your dog in the office, since it’s easy to overlook the many holiday dangers for dogs. Decorations and common holiday foods like chocolate and bread dough can cause serious health issues for your dog if he ingests them. Christmas trees are a particular risk to be aware of, since your dog may swallow decorations or pine needles, or could potentially chew on the Christmas tree light cord.
Keep your dog’s safety in mind when decorating the office this holiday season. Make sure that garlands and other decorations are hung up well out of a dog’s reach, and avoid placing Christmas trees on the floor — opt for tabletop trees, instead. You can also use dog gates throughout the office to keep dogs safely confined to non-decorated areas.
Create a safe, secure place for dogs
To make the office a comfortable, inviting space for your dog, give him a space of all his own. This might mean bringing in his crate from home, or he might prefer a dog bed positioned in the corner of your office.
If you work from home, you have more options. It might be best to buy another dog bed so your pup can hang out in the office with you, but then during calls and meetings, you can have him lie in his crate in another area of the house.
Some toys can also help your dog to feel comfortable and can help keep him entertained, but you may need to take things a step further during busy times in the office, like holidays. Holidays can be stressful for dogs, but you can help to keep your dog safe and relaxed. Make sure your dog has a spot to retreat to and nap when he wants and consider using CBD oil or calming bites to reduce your dog’s anxiety. Most importantly, monitor how your dog is doing while you’re working. If he’s anxious because of increased holiday office activity, it might be best to leave him home until the holidays are over and things are quieter.
Invest in insurance
Even though you may try to anticipate and prevent potential issues that could arise with having a dog in the workplace, accidents can still happen, and a business could be found liable. If you have a home-based business and want your dog to be present in the office, it’s essential to invest in appropriate business insurance. Depending on the policy you choose, your business insurance could help protect you if your dog bites an employee or client, or if your dog damages your business equipment.
If you take your dog to work, you can create a more enjoyable work environment, and your dog will benefit from being able to spend more time with you while enjoying a social setting. With careful planning and a deliberate introduction, you can set your dog up for success as your new office partner.
Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience with nose boops and chin scritches. You can find him on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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