Do you work in a pet-friendly office? While some workplaces may limit dogs to an annual Take Your Dog to Work Day, others bring their dogs in daily.
This can be great for both the dogs and their people. After all, it’s comforting to have your best friend by your side. But how do you make sure everyone is comfortable? Are there guidelines to put into place? How do you handle it if the fur flies?
Pet-Friendly Office Policies Vary Widely: What Our Interviews Found
There is not a one-size-fits-all policy when it comes to bringing pets into the workplace.
Heather and Nate Krieder of Makes Scents Natural Spa Line near Lancaster, PA make body scrubs and lotions with names like Coco Mojito and Sea Sanctuary.
Besides spa products, they’re also passionate about dogs. In their off hours, they’re active in dog rescues. Their new foster, BeeBee, is a 5 or 6 year old Boston Terrier they rescued from a puppy mill. She accompanies them to the office for socialization and is the employees enjoy her.
Cortineo Creative is a printing company in Doylestown, PA. The staff brings three dogs to work – Brannagh, Rusty and Otis. Like many small, family-run companies, they don’t have “official” dog rules. Their approach is to know the personality of each dog. For example, one of the dogs only cares to associate with the people he sees daily so they keep him in a gated office. The other two dogs are outgoing and the customers enjoy interacting with them.
Graphic Designer Kelly Anne says, the dogs “…play hard and they sleep hard.”. “It’s great exercise and socialization for them and it’s great for us as dog owners because once we get home the dogs are beat!”
Trident Plastics is an industrial plastics distributor in Warminster, Pa. Salesperson Kristin Cadic Vogel brings in her French bulldog and pug mix, Pearson. He’s been going to the office since he was a puppy and is now 7 years old. Pearson has his own bed at her desk and Kristen loves that she can take Pearson out at regular intervals. She says her co-workers also love dogs and they often stop by her desk to pet Pearson. Other co-workers sometimes bring in their pets as well; not surprisingly, the UPS driver always has dog treats on hand.
Vogel said they don’t have an official pet policy; rather it has simply evolved over the years. But the key is to be respectful of others and know each dog’s temperament.
Wellpet is a premium pet food company based in the Boston area. They celebrate Take Your Dog to Work Day every month. Marisa Coen says about forty dogs will visit and they have 100 team members. Their basic pet policy is that any visiting dog must be properly socialized and play well with others. Coen enjoys having her best friend with her at work. “It’s also a fun way for the pets to get out of the house and socialize with their furry friends. I also don’t mind that by the end of the day, she’s exhausted!”
How To Ask Your Boss If You Can Bring Your Pet To Work
If you’d like to broach the topic of a pet friendly workplace at your place of employment, here how’s to go about it.
Assuming your co-workers are on board, you can ask your supervisor. Offer to run it as a temporary pilot and take responsibility for any problems (e.g., if Fido makes a mess, I will clean it up and not bring him back!). Mention some of the stress-reduction benefits of having pets in the workplace.
It may be as simple as Debbie D.’s experience with her Chesapeake Bay Retriever Bosco. She brought Bosco by the law office where she works as a paralegal so
everyone could meet him. The next day when she came into work alone, the attorneys asked where Bosco was and they encouraged her to go home and get him at lunchtime.
Now, Bosco comes in daily to provide stress reduction services. Debbie says the attorneys and clients alike appreciate Bosco’s calm nature.
For companies that have successful “Bring Your Pet to Work” program, most take the common sense approach. They know the dogs and their environment and they take the necessary precautions. Those precautions include making sure insurance will cover any mishaps.