Everything to Know About Having Dogs in Workplace
We’d all love to bring our dog to work. Not only would they put a smile on everyone’s faces, but work would be even more fun, right?
At Spot, we love having dogs in the office. Having our furry friends join us during the workday fits with our mission of creating happier, healthier pets...and it makes the day more interesting. Nothing boosts your energy quite like seeing a “coworker” catch a case of the zoomies!
See some of our office pets on our resolutions blog.
It is essential you take certain precautions before bringing a dog or puppy into work with you. In this article, we’re going to break down tips for creating a dog-friendly workplace for both office management and pet parents.
Best Practices for Creating a Dog-Friendly Workplace
Although it’s tempting to only think about the joy of having dogs in the office, we need to slow down and evaluate the potential downfalls of having dogs around at work. It’s important to establish ground rules for pet parents bringing their dogs into the workplace.
Survey your workforce about dogs in the office.
Does anyone have dog allergies or a fear of dogs? Is there enough of an interest to make this a worthwhile endeavor? Is anyone distracted by dogs at the office? Ask co-workers and employees these questions before bringing dogs into the workplace.
Dog-Proof the Workplace
Is your office dog-proof? Although not enjoyable to consider, how would your company handle a situation where a dog was injured or where a dog injured an employee? How can you reduce the risk of this happening in the office space?
Have a Workplace Pet Policy
Create a workplace pet policy to set clear rules and guidelines for pet parents before they bring their dog into work. Establish a checklist for dog parents. Which criteria does their dog need to meet before they can be brought in? Do they have to be a certain age or show proof of vaccinations? Should they need to be spayed or neutered?
How Often Can Dogs Be in The Office
Can dogs be brought to work every day? Is it okay to have dogs underfoot during the busiest time of the year? Are employees allowed to bring their dogs in every day or only on designated days?
Are only dogs allowed at the office? Make sure you’re clear on who is welcome from the beginning to avoid confusing situations in the future.
How to be Productive with Dogs at Work
How can pet parents balance being productive while having your dog at the office? Cory Cook, time management and productivity coach shares her tips.
If you’ve been thinking about taking your dog to work, you might be wondering how, or if, you’ll manage to be productive at the office with your favorite furry friend in tow? Before you load Fido into the car, it’s worth looking at the big picture - is this best for you, your co-workers, and dog?
Under the right circumstances, dogs at work can promote productivity by reducing stress and improving well-being. There’s an element at play called ‘the pet effect’ - the bond between humans and animals that positively affects the health and wellness of both. And happier people tend to be more productive.
You’ll need to consider the workplace pet policy and your co-workers. You’ll need to be honest with yourself about your dog - for instance, is your dog calm around people and other animals? Does he or she obey commands? Is your dog housebroken? If not, you risk causing disruption that won’t be conducive to anyone’s productivity.
After you’ve reviewed the company pet policy, ensured your dog meets all the requirements, and felt confident your four-legged office pal will fit right in, keep these productivity tips in mind while your dog is at work with you:
Productivity Tip #1: Create a ‘home away from home’
Of course it helps if your dog is already calm by nature. A new environment with other people, and possibly other dogs around, might make your pet react differently. For your dog to feel comfortable, you’ll want to create a workspace that feels less foreign, and more homely, cozy and familiar.
For instance, bring in a dog bed, a crate, a blanket, whatever your dog likes to snuggle up in. To pre-empt any boredom, toss in a few well-considered toys - meaning nothing squeaky or distracting. Remember to check your space for anything potentially harmful or hazardous, e.g. cords, that your dog may be tempted to munch on. And of course, don’t forget the treats!
With your pooch content, you’ll be able to carry on with your work.
Productivity Tip #2: Communicate with your colleagues
At first, your dog may be a distraction to you and/or your co-workers. Be prepared for other interruptions as well. By their very nature, dogs will attract a lot of attention in the office.
Well-meaning colleagues may want to dip in and out of your office to pet or play with your dog. Although that’s great for your dog, as well as bonding opportunities between you and your co-workers, such interruptions may become a real time-suck. At the end of the day, you still need to get your work done.
Establish some boundaries upfront and openly communicate them with all colleagues. Explain that although your dog loves the attention, you find it best if you can avoid interruptions whilst you work. Invite them instead to interact or join you during walk or play breaks. That way everyone benefits from social interaction while maintaining work commitments.
Productivity Tip #3: Use your dog’s schedule to boost your productivity
Your dog will need routine breaks and attention throughout the day. Use these mini-breaks to regulate your own schedule. For example, use the time between those walks and pauses for focused sprint work. That built-in time crunch will impose a sense of urgency, prompting you to stay on task and get your work done. Make it a challenge; knuckle down and get important chunks of work accomplished before the next break.
Breaks aren’t just for dogs; you need them, too. When we work for long periods of time, we deplete our brain’s energy stores. Frequent breaks enable us to restore energy, reduce mental fatigue and improve our effectiveness so we can continue. As a bonus, when we shift activity - like taking a walk - our brains actually continue working in the background to solve problems we’ve been working on.
So think of Fido’s schedule as a built-in 'productivity framework' that helps regulate your work-break balance, thus improving your productivity!
10 Workplace Tips for Dog Parents
It’s easy to become overexcited at the prospect of bringing your pets into the workplace. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the top tips you need to know about bringing your dog to work.
- Bring a dog crate or barrier. No matter how well behaved your dog is, they may need to be separated from another dog or distractions. Remember that many dogs see their crates as a cozy, safe place to be, and they may willingly retreat there for some peace and quiet.
- Watch out for items that are hazardous to pets. Keep your dog away from dangers like electrical cords or the contents of trash bins. Many foods can be toxic to dogs, so keep your dog out of trash bins. Your dog and co-workers will thank you!
- Pack pet cleaning supplies for any accidents. Even the best-trained dog may get nervous and have an accident. Prepare for any accidents by reminding employees to bring cleaning supplies, poop bags, and smell-eliminating cleaners for their dogs and cats.
- Introduce your dog to your coworkers and their dogs. Take time to take your leashed dog around the office to meet others. Encourage them with praise and treats when they politely interact with others.
- Keep your dog safe during the commute. Many dogs experience anxiety riding in the car due to their association with car rides and less enjoyable activities, like vet or groomer appointments.
Break this association by taking your dog on some fun rides before their commute to the office. Try taking them to a dog park, dog-friendly restaurant, or drive-in restaurant to alleviate their fear.
- Give your dog plenty of things to do. Just like us, our dogs get bored, and boredom can quickly translate into destruction or frustration. When you’re trying to get important tasks and projects done with your dog at work, it’s important to try to keep your pup busy as well.
Pack some of your dog’s favorite, quiet toys (no squeakers!) and a favorite bed or blanket for them to snuggle with. Take it a step further by packing quiet puzzle toys, like KONGs, to entertain them.
- Take your dog out regularly for bathroom breaks. Keep your dog from getting restless and having accidents by taking them out frequently to relieve themselves. Bonus points if your office has a designated pet outdoor area.
- Keep your dog’s vaccinations and checkups up to date. If they are currently sick, do not bring them in. Not only is this stressful for your dog, but they may spread their illness to other dogs in the workplace.
Take your dog to regular veterinary appointments to ensure they are happy and healthy. Spot Preventive Care coverage, which is available at an additional cost per month, and it helps with the cost of routine vet care so that your pup can stay in top shape!
- Not everyone loves dogs and that’s okay. Although it may be hard to imagine for us dog-lovers, some people may not be interested in bringing their pets to work and may prefer that your pup maintain their distance. Be considerate of coworkers that are not crazy about dogs by keeping your pooch clear of them.
- Create clear boundaries with your coworkers. From the start, set boundaries with your coworkers on what is okay and not okay with your dog. Your pup may be nervous or dislike strangers. They may not like someone touching their crate or toys.
Of course, the benefits of having a pet-friendly office revolve around employee happiness, but it is also a good idea to keep an eye on your dog’s emotional state. For more information on this, check out our article on signs your dog is happy.
Do What’s Right for Your Dog & Officemates
Although we’d all love to bring our dog to work, some dogs may not be comfortable with the noise level, number of people, or the environment of an office, and that’s okay. Above all else, your pup’s health and happiness should always be your top priority. Be sure to keep your pooch healthy with dog insurance plans from Spot.
If your employer doesn't allow dogs in the workplace, they may still provide pet perks in other ways. Spot Pet Insurance partners with employers and brokers to offer their teams a 10 percent employee discount, and a 10 percent multi-pet discount for any additional pets. Learn more about getting your company involved with pet insurance employee benefits if they aren't already, and get one step closer to becoming a pet-friendly workplace!