What are the advantages and disadvantages in a dog-friendly workplace?

Allowing dogs into the workplace is quickly growing trend in offices across America. Although pro-pet policies are generally appreciated by pet and animal loving employees, there are certainly some pros and cons to carefully consider before deciding if such a policy is right for your company. Pros It’s worth noting that the pros to allowing […]

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Allowing dogs into the workplace is quickly growing trend in offices across America. Although pro-pet policies are generally appreciated by pet and animal loving employees, there are certainly some pros and cons to carefully consider before deciding if such a policy is right for your company.

Pros

It’s worth noting that the pros to allowing dogs in the office are specific to employees who own dogs, or at least like them.

  • Increased employee satisfaction
  • Decreased absenteeism
  • Increased productivity
  • A livelier workplace
  • Pet owners are less distracted by the guilt of leaving their dogs at home, and are therefore less prone to running home early

Cons

  • May create difficulties for those with dog allergies or phobias
  • May create distractions
  • May create messes
  • May cause damage to company property
  • May create tension in worker relations (if someone’s dog bothers another employee)

Creating a Good Dog Policy

If you do want to allow dogs into the office, consider implementing the policy on a probationary basis at first. This will allow you to get a sense of how employees and customers are reacting to dogs in the workplace.

Generally, the biggest concerns come from employees who are allergic to or scared of dogs. One potential solution is to create a space in the workplace that is dog free. This will allow those who don’t want to work around dogs to do so.

Another good idea is to have employees who plan to bring their dog to work to sign a pet in good standing agreement.” A few items to include in this agreement may be:

  • That their dog has never been aggressive to people or other dogs
  • That their dog is toilet trained, and that they will pick up any potential droppings
  • That their dog is properly vaccinated
  • That the owner must carry a leash, and maintain control over their dog
  • That dogs will be kept out of specific areas of the workplace such as kitchens, bathrooms, and conference rooms

Regulations

Some workplaces are simply not dog-friendly (i.e. restaurants). You should check for OSHA or disability-related federal and local law requirements specific to your business that may be prohibitive to dogs.

Conversely, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that most businesses allow service animals, who are most often dogs, to accompany people with disabilities. If you don’t want pets in the workplace, you can indicate just that, while still allowing service animals.

Final Tip

Allowing dogs in the workplace can certainly boost employee satisfaction, and potentially productivity. However, if not carefully controlled, a pro-dog policy can lead to problems like employees suffering allergies or harboring personal grievances against problem pooches.

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