It is becoming more and more acceptable to bring your dog to work. A 2008 study conducted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) found that 17 per cent of employers had pet friendly workplace policies. Pet related business have even higher percentages of pet friendly workplaces. We have a national bring your dog to work day that happens annually and each year it seems more work places are open to inviting our canine friends to join us for that work day. With that in mind I thought it would be helpful to look at not only the benefits of this but also the etiquette necessary to make this a successful event.
Benefits for the employees
- Having your pet with you at work eliminates any stress you may feel about how your dog is doing at home or elsewhere without you. Also, being with your dog creates a feeling of calm and happiness our dogs just naturally bring to our lives. This of course reduces our personal stress level.
- Other emlployees enjoy having a dog in the work environment and this promotes positive conversation and interaction among co-workers. Dogs are always in the present moment. They share positive energy that is in a way contagious. People who enjoy being around dogs enjoy this good feeling and love to share it with others. Thus stress can be reduced for other co-workers as well.
- When your dog is with you, you do not have to worry about what he is doing and what he may need. You are with your dog and can meet his needs as they arise. That may save you the cost of a professional dog walker or even doggie day care for the day.
Benefits for the dog
- Your dog is with you, the person he most wants to be with. He is happy and feeling good. This means your dog's stress level is reduced as well. If our dog is not comfortable around noise and other people, the work place may not be the best place for him. It is important to know your dog and make sure he is as happy to be at work with you as you are having him there.
- Dogs love routine. Going to work with you will become part of your dog's routine as well. It is something he will look forward to doing with you.
Benefits for the employer
- A Pet friendly image develops for the employer. Potential employees looking for a pet friendly work place will be attracted to an employer like this. Some employers offer the ability to bring your pet to work to specifically attract the Millennial generation and other potential employees.
- Studies have determined employee turnover is less when employees like coming to work. Having dogs in the workplace often makes the workplace a pleasant place to come to work. Also, employees are generally experiencing reduced stress during the workday in this environment. Hiring and replacing employees who have left can be costly to all employers. Reduced turnover is a plus financially and overall employee stability and longevity is a positive statement about an employer.
- On a similar note employee performance is enhanced when employees are less stressed and enjoy working in the environment. Increased performance is a definite benefit for the employer.
Etiquette for all
1) need to be sensitive to other co-workers who may have allergies to dogs. If there are a number of employees with allergies bringing a dog to work may not work. Even one person with allergies in the area is not a good experience for anyone. Pet free zones may be the solution.
2) need to make sure their dog is comfortable in this environment and is socialized well to people and loud noises and equipment like office printers, chairs, elevators and anything else specific to your work environment. If your dog is familiar with the environment he will adjust to the specific sounds and activities.
3) need to make sure their dog is able to get outside to eliminate and get some physical exercise. Even if only brief periods it is important for your dog to move physically and have a place he can eliminate comfortably. If a dog has pent up energy he could take it out by chewing on something in the office that is meant to be off limits for his safety and the safety of others.
4) need to limit the treats and food that co-workers may want to feed your dog. Make sure your dog gets the calories comparable to the activity level he is expending. Also, people are well intentioned, but mot all food is safe for a dog to eat. Bringing treats for co-workers or customers to give your dog may be the best scenario.
5) need to keep your dog safe from interaction with people who may invade your dog's space and touch him in a place that may bother him. Most dogs really don't like being pet over their head. Be mindful of where your dog is at all times. When everyone understands how to interact with your dog things will go well.
1) Must be prepared for any legal issues that may arise. Have a lawyer involved in making decisions to bring dogs into the work place to prepare for the possibility of dog bites, or other incidents.
2) Having a workplace "pet policy" is necessary. Work with a lawyer, and perhaps some employees to layout expectations and consequences for the dog and the pet parent. It will address things like when and where the dog can be in the workplace. Whether in a crate or on a leash. Where to take the dog outside on what area of the property, how to address co-workers with allergies, and other related information. This will help everyone to know what the expectations are.
Dog - needs to be comfortable in the workplace environment. That means he is a socialized dog who enjoys being around people and possible noises throughout the day. A dog who is trained and socialized is more able to be successful in new environments.
Bringing your dog to work can be a win win for everyone: the dog, the employee and the employer.
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