Pet-friendly workplace policy
In the dog-eat-dog world of business, there’s a growing trend of workers bringing their pets to the office. Some companies already welcome man’s best friend (and cats too), while others have not yet realized that there are benefits of allowing employees to bring their furry friends to work.
There are many pros to allowing your employees’ four-legged creatures in the office:
- Reduce stress: Studies have shown that being around and touching dogs & cats can lower blood pressure. They can also reduce tension in a stressful work environment.
- Helps in recruiting talented employees: A pet-friendly office attracts a wider variety of people who are happy to be able to bring their dog to work, or just want to work in a friendly atmosphere where pets are allowed.
- Creates connections: Pets make it easier for employees to stir up non-work related conversation.
- Makes it easier for employees to stay late: With their dog being at the office, employees don’t have to worry about rushing home to walk or feed their pet.
Not so fast!
There are some important things to consider before making a quick decision on this issue. Potential downsides include:
- Allergies of fellow employees (and potential absentee days as a result)
- Learning that one or more of your workers has a fear of animals
- An intimidating, anxious or even “yappy” animal temperament can distract your workers.
Some tips on building a pet-friendly work environment:
- Build a Pets at Work Policy to develop rules and guidelines. Employees must understand that their pets are only allowed at management’s discretion.
- Make sure your insurance covers liabilities associated with animals in the office.
- Get to know your office animals – if there is an animal with an aggressive personality, make sure you communicate your concerns to your employee.
- Include “pet-friendly office” in your job postings.
- Don’t confuse “pets” with “service animals” under Ontario’s Accessibility Legislation (AODA).
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