Are you one of those hip and cool companies that allow your employees to bring their pets to the office? By “pets,” I mean dogs, of course, for no one ever brought their pet snake or bird to their place of work and as for cats; they freak out and don’t want to go anywhere. They just want to be left in peace in their own home!
The photographs of these offices always look so inviting with the dogs lying peacefully at their owner’s feet or if the pooch is small enough, tucked comfortably in a file drawer. Coworkers walk by, give their furry friends a scratch behind the ears and head to their meeting.
It all looks very serene and business owners seem to enjoy the appreciation and gratitude that they get from their animal-loving employees but before you decide that this is a policy that you want to adopt in your own company, you should take the following into consideration:
Not Everyone Loves Dogs
There are lots of reasons that some of your employees may not appreciate having dogs in the office. They might be allergic, have been bitten by a dog and had a bad fright in the past, or simply find that it is very distracting to have small and large dogs alike parading through the workplace. Clearly, these employees have a right to work in an environment that doesn’t make them nervous or ill.
Animals Have Accidents
Your employee may need to leave the dog in their office / cubicle while tied up in a meeting. This posses several issue. First, your employee is constantly watching the clock for the dog’s walk. If the dog couldn’t wait, there could be an issue when the employee returns to their office / cubicle. They can’t expect another employee to take care of the dog while they are in a meeting, but the smell may make others uncomfortable or ill.
There is a Potential For Injury
Dogs in your office increase the possibility of workplace injury with dogs getting underfoot and causing people to trip and potentially fall. Even the calmest and placid canine might become stressed and made disruptive by unexpected sounds (fire alarms, bells, and sirens), or by strangers that they haven’t seen before. It can also be a problem if one of the dogs in the office decided to jump up on an unsuspecting messenger bringing in lunch. Do you hear potential “lawsuit?”
Prepare for Shedding and Other Damage to Your Office Furniture
While you would hope that most employees would be aware of their dog’s predisposition to chew on furniture or their proclivity to shed, that might not keep an avid dog loving employee to keep their furry friend at home. Just like the parents of unruly children will often overlook their child’s annoying habits and anti-social behaviors, so too will some pet owners.
Yes, They Do Smell
I’m going to tread delicately here because I am pretty certain that no one likes to believe that their dogs would ever be considered smelly, but in truth, the number of dogs, and the size and ventilation in the office space, might certainly contribute to a less than pleasant environment. Enough said!
If all this hasn’t made you slightly gun-shy about allowing dogs in the office I recommend that you start slowly. Perhaps allow employees to bring their pet to work once per month and see how it goes. If all is well, and there are no mishaps, then you can consider expanding the policy to one day per week and then finally, if enough time has passed and there have been no issues you too can get to be one of the cool kids on the block with a pet-friendly office.
Just don’t say I didn’t warn you;)
For further discussion or comments, please contact Gail L. Trugman Nikol, President Unique Business Solutions, firstname.lastname@example.org or call (516) 935-5641.