How to create a pet-friendly office that everyone can tolerate?

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Bringing their pets to the office is one of the many perks companies offer employees when they return to the office for the first time in over two years.

We have received many comments from readers on the do’s and don’ts of such a benefit. But deciding whether or not to allow pets in the office can be difficult. For many workers, bringing furry friends to work can help reduce stress, encourage socialization, and bring joy. But readers noted that for others, the experience can be far from pleasant.

So what is the right protocol for companies that want to give an advantage to employees returning to the office? Pet experts say business owners should take certain steps to reduce the friction of setting up a pet-friendly office. certification companies Pets in the office indicate constant communication, to begin with.

“It’s an ongoing conversation,” said Sarah Lowery, director of culture and facilities at San Francisco-based software company Sendoso, which has been dog-friendly for nearly four years. “We try to make sure everyone knows if you’re offended by anything, let us know.”

Pet epidemic boom sparks desire for dog-friendly offices

Pet grooming company Purina and online dog service company Rover say they’ve learned a lot over the years, both by setting up their own pet-friendly offices and by reviewing best practices from others. Here are their recommendations for businesses considering the switch.

Measure employee interest and concerns: Pet experts say leaders should determine if their employees have a strong affinity or feelings for a pet-friendly office before they start. Conducting an anonymous survey can allow employees to freely express their opinion on the subject. “Everyone has different feelings,” says Kate Jaffe, senior director of brand marketing at Rover. “Start by talking to the employee base…it will get you into an effective space.”

Make sure your building is pet-friendly: Not all buildings allow pets, which may ultimately dictate your office policy. But Purina’s chief veterinarian, Kurt Venator, said sometimes tenants can negotiate with landlords to make their offices pet-friendly. “Show the benefits…then share how you can reduce the risks,” he said. “Sharing guidelines and best practices [can help]”

Create and share clear policies: Experts say it’s important to set expectations up front when it comes to creating new pet policies. This can include everything from explaining behaviors that won’t be tolerated, such as excessive barking or aggression, to leash rules and where pets can and can’t go – for example, pets should they be allowed in the kitchen? Are there areas where people with allergies can work? For example, Rover worked with the owner to mark one of its elevators as pet-friendly, allowing employees and guests to ride different elevators if they didn’t want to share the elevator with a pet. .

Consider areas where pets are prohibited: Offices can consider fencing pet-friendly areas, whether it’s a pet owner cube, a series of cubes, or just roaming areas, say experts. or pet games. This allows other employees to move around the office knowing where they might or might not encounter a pet.

Identify areas for pets: Pets need a place to relax when they can’t run or play. According to Purina’s Venator, managers may want to identify nearby green spaces and create safe pathways for pet owners to walk their pets or take bathroom breaks. If you don’t have an outdoor space where pets can roam freely and burn off excess energy, consider creating an indoor dog playroom, Jaffe said.

Require Pet References or Pledges: Pet owners who wish to bring their dog to work must first complete a Pet Application or Waiver, which must include essential requirements such as: “A familiar word [might say]“I am responsible for cleanup and will report any accidents,” Venator said. “The truth is, when you sign a pet pledge, most of the time [problems] They are quite light. Signed documents can also contribute to accountability.

Prepare for chaos: Despite your best efforts, things can end up getting messy in a pet-friendly office. According to Jaffe, offices should have cleaning supplies such as carpet cleaners, disinfectant sprays and poop bags for these types of situations.

Ensure the comfort and safety of the animals: A well-designed, pet-friendly office should be both safe and pet-friendly. This means that businesses should consider fencing off areas that may be dangerous for pets and ensuring pets have access to clean water, food and places to rest. Rover provides dogs with color-coded tags to help staff understand the dog’s temperament. Purina’s Venator recommends that dog owners bring their pets into the office when it’s less crowded and that employees ensure the transition is less stressful for the animal.

Welcome suggestions and complaints: Jaffe said it’s important that all employees feel empowered to make suggestions or complaints in pet-friendly workspaces. This is why companies need to ensure that employees know how to do this and that there is someone on the other side to take care of these matters.

Be prepared to adapt: Above all, pet-friendly offices must listen and constantly adapt their policies. What works in one office may not work in another, but experts say good planning can significantly reduce that burden. “It might seem a bit daunting, but as long as you do careful planning, it can go very well and smoothly,” Venator said.

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