Pets at work: Good for business or just barking mad?

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Start-ups and SMEs might have a lot of four-legged staff around now days, but it isn’t for everyone.

The trend of bringing pets to work has escalated recently. Australian organizations such as Cotton On, Mars Petcare, Melbourne Theatre Company, Exit Films, and Media Giants allow pets at work, News Ltd reported earlier this year.

“Having your dog in your workplace has been shown to boost morale, increase productivity, and keep workers motivated. In addition, it provides employees with a reason to step away from their desks and get outside for a workday break,” Dog Whisperer Cesar Milan’s website, Cesar’s Way, stated.

If considering introducing pets into the workplace, employers must ensure some ground rules. Focusing primarily on dogs, Cesar’s Way provided a number of tips organizations should implement before allowing any furry companions in the office:

Make them feel safe, not territorial. Pets will need their own small areas in the office – this is as simple as a pillow or bed that is there when they arrive. If they do not feel they have their own place, they may become territorial.

They must be well behaved. Some pets – such as those who may have come from an abusive background – may be less suitable for an office environment, especially one that may have multiple pets. Pets with some issues can be brought to work, although it is the owner’s responsibility to discuss this with co-workers and ensure all are aware of any special treatment that animal may need (such as no touching or eye contact).

Owners are responsible of their pets. Staff who choose to bring their pets to work should look after and clean up after them, and ensure they do not wander the office unattended.

Pets must be healthy. All pets brought to work must be up-to-date on vaccines to ensure the health and wellbeing of all in the office.

Pets must be housebroken. Perhaps a no-brainer, but pets should be properly trained and housebroken before entering the workplace. Accidents can happen, but a lack of training shouldn’t be disruptive to the rest of the workforce.

Ensure proper stimulation. Without being disruptive of the rest of the workforce, pets should be stimulated – they should have toys they can play with quietly, as well as being able to interact with other pets. A 20-30 minute walk at lunch time is also recommended.

No feeding in office. Feeding in office can cause problems. However, a common water bowl for all pets is encouraged.

 

  • jocelyne Tremblay on 2013-11-06 8:01:58 AM

    Although I am a pet lover and is all for that approach, I am amazed that we are developing this trend but no help whatsoever to young mothers who have daycare crisis. We even look at them crosswise and make them feel unorganized. On site daycare for fair size company is the exception when it should be the rule.

  • Sue on 2013-11-06 10:05:01 AM

    A couple other considerations, based on local experience. Some people are allergic to dogs and a fair number are afraid of them. Both concerns need to be addressed before the pet policy is in place, otherwise there will be complaints, irrespective of how good and unobtrusive the dogs are.

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