Paws for fraught.....Surprising things you need to consider if you want employees to bring their pets to work
We go into lots of businesses that have an office pet or employees who want to bring their pets into work. And research has shown that having pets at work can actually increase productivity and well-being at work. But before you’re fawning over Fido or tormenting Tiddles, here are some surprising (and not so surprising) things those businesses have found themselves considering to make it work.
Not everyone is a pet lover
I know, unbelievable right? While it sounds like a lot of fun to have pets in the office, some people just don’t like animals. There are other people who are genuinely frightened of them. Be sympathetic – you want having pets in your office to increase productivity, engagement and wellness, not damage it.
You bring your dog in – can everyone else bring their pet in too?
It’s entirely up to you. You’re the boss. Its okay to have a few small perks like being able to bring your pet in. Whether you open it up to the rest of the team depends on things like how much space you have and the culture you’re trying to promote in your business.
Can everyone bring in their pets on the same day?
Some people have big dogs, others have small dogs – some dogs are a bit feisty, others very timid. Their only answer, to avoid complete chaos, is to schedule compatible pets in on any given day.
What about the people with allergies?
Speak to your team. Understand pet allergy sufferers and to what extent their allergies affect them. Compromise to see how you can accommodate pet lovers and allergy sufferers. The reality is the employee with an allergy who works in your team is going to need to take priority.
Where do we store the pet food and where will they eat?
A pretty practical problem but most office kitchens are pretty small. You’ll need to find an appropriate place to store pet food and a place where the pets eat (preferably separate from where your team are meeting and/or eating!).
Snakes, lizards, alpacas…?
Dogs, cats and fish are all pretty common in offices, but what if someone wants to bring in their pet snake or rat? Unless you’re running a pet shop you probably want to keep some restrictions around the type of pet “running” around the office. Pet related risk assessments could be pretty time consuming! However, it’s entirely up to you and what your office (and the people in it) can accommodate.
Do we need a policy?
There is no legal requirement for a “Pets at Work (PAW!) Policy” and if only one or two people bring their dog in to the office, you may not feel you need one. But if you are finding you need to answer these questions repeatedly, you might find it saves you time to have one. Just make sure it is non-contractual (not sure what this means? Get in touch).
If you think you need a Pets at Work Policy, or if you’re missing some other key HR policies, get in touch for a free consultation call.
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