Nothing brightens up a room like an adorable puppy. As soon as one comes in the office, everyone stops their work and crowds around, waiting for their chance to play with it.
Numerous companies have acknowledged the positive outcome that dogs have on their staff, and ‘Bring Your Dog to Work Day’ are becoming more popular arrangements.
But before you dash to the nearest shelter, here are some things you need to consider…
Consult your staff
Conduct an anonymous survey among your staffs to find out how they’d feel about having dogs around. This will let you find out if any of your staff are afraid of them, are allergic to dogs or simply find them too disruptive.
You need to be mindful that not everyone is a dog person, and no one should feel unpleasant at their workplace.
Construct a clear policy
Once you’ve collected the feedback from your staff, set up a policy that lays down the guidelines for bringing dogs to work. Decide if you’ll allow employees to bring in their dogs daily, or only on specific days. For instance, the last Friday of the month.
Nestlé’s HQ in Gatwick is considered the most dog-friendly workplace in the UK. Since 2015, employees have been able to take their four-legged companion to their workplace with them, but only after both dog and human clear a three-step assessment:
- An employee must fill out a survey about their dog’s mannerism.
- An independent specialist takes the dog through 12 simple exercises, including an evaluation of how it reacts to strangers and its ability to follow simple commands. The dog must also go through a full health check.
- The dog then gets a probationary period of three months, during which the company monitors its behavior to make sure it gets along with everyone.
Your policy should also clarify who’s responsible for the dog’s behavior during office hours, and the amount of time you’ll allow staff to play with dogs.
Allocate dog-friendly and dog-free areas
Every area in a workplace is not suited for dogs. No one wants a hyperactive Jack Russell bouncing onto you while you’re doing a presentation in the boardroom. The cafeteria should also be off limits.
If your office is big enough, you could incorporate dog-friendly lifts, boardrooms and communal areas for dogs to roam free.
Conduct risk assessment
Studies do show that dogs cut down workplace stress, but your health and safety officer might disagree. Bringing a dog into the workplace could create all sorts of new hazards.
Someone’s Pug may chew through wiring or cause havoc on the office property?
Your new furry friend could also discredit your liability insurance and affect your fire safety certificate if you don’t add them to your risk assessment.
All in all, permitting dogs into the office can be a great idea. They make people cheerful and help create an enjoyable workplace.
But, there’s a lot you need to consider as well. If you run a small enterprise, you need to determine if establishing a dog-friendly (and dog-proof) workplace is worth it.
If you need help constructing any HR policy, it’s better to get an insight from HR Experts.
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