Having a ruff day at the office and wished your furkid was by your side? If you’re unsure of how to go about bringing your pet to work, our guide of dos and don’ts will get you started.
Our guide to bringing your furry companion to work.
more organisations, including notable ones like Google, Amazon, Ben & Jerry’s, and Etsy, are adopting pet-friendly office policies. With the increasingly long hours spent in the office, it’s easy to see why having a pet at the workplace might help. A furry companion can boost morale, make employees happier and promote positive interaction, but their presence might open up a can of worms; not only might it compromise the health, safety and well-being of both employee and furkid, it could lead to legal and cultural repercussions. If your office is open to pets and you’d like to bring your furkid to work, here’re a couple of things you should take note of.
ALWAYS BE PREPARED
The workplace is a shared environment and not everyone might be comfortable having pets in the office, so it’s a must to seek permission from your supervisors and speak with your colleagues before bringing your pet to work.
While canvassing, be sure to find out if anybody has allergies or a phobia of animals. A 2017 study by the U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health discovered that an estimated 15 to 30 percent of individuals with existing allergies are affected by dogs and cats as well. “Given that major dog allergens are found in dander, workplace exposure to allergens could be reduced by asking the dog owners to bathe their dogs regularly or before bringing them in,” researchers wrote. It’s important to take your colleague’s concerns into consideration; either create pet-free zones in the office for those suffering from these conditions, or bring your furkid to work on a day
whereby that particular colleague isn’t in.
Prior to bringing Fido or Puss to the office, draw up a list of your pet’s training and dietary needs so your colleagues know what your furkid can or cannot eat and do. “Remember that not everyone at work will love your pet as much as you do,” shares dog trainer and founder of Positive Puppies, Barbara Wright. “Keep your dog on a leash and let people come to say hello, rather than let your pet invade everyone’s space.”
CREATE A SAFE SPACE
To prevent your pup or kitty from waltzing into red zones like your boss’ office, the pantry, or the toilet, section out a cosy area at your workstation for your furkid a few days before bringing it to work. Fill the space with a pet bed, soft pillows and toys, and lead your pet directly there when at the office. This way, your furry companion is less likely to claim its own space or get territorial. Plus, in the event that your pet is shy or has a social interaction time limit, it can retreat to its designated safe space to recuperate.
From its first visit, make it clear to your furkid about where it is or isn’t allowed to go. Should you need to leave its side for a meeting, always have a play pen, fence, or crate on standby. “It not only ensures your pet isn’t causing trouble while you’re away, it also protects your pet from being put into uncomfortable situations by mistake,” says Barbara.
KEEP IT ENTERTAINED
As with humans, it’s important to occasionally stretch your legs to stave off boredom. Likewise, try to keep your pet stimulated throughout the long workday: take it out for walks every couple of hours, bring a puzzle or smart toy to keep your pup occupied, or let it mingle with other furkids and co-workers in the office. For felines, bring a small scratching post or construct a makeshift one out of leftover cardboard, and put a laser pointer to good use to keep Puss engaged. Bringing your pet to work is a great socialisation and training opportunity, but if your pet is left in a corner of the office while you’re hard at work, it won’t make much of a difference.
If your pooch is hyperactive, be sure to bring it out for a long walk to expend its energy before coming to the office. As a result, it will be less likely to wreak havoc at the office.
While pets can be a great social contribution to the workplace, it’s up to you to discern what problems might arise throughout the course of the day and ensure that it doesn’t become a nuisance or distraction.
If your dog isn’t potty-trained, always have a pee pad on standby or bring it out for short walks more often. It can be frustrating for your colleagues to find
(or smell) pee or poop, especially if they stumble on it before you do. In case of accidents, keep a roll of paper towels and pet stain remover sprays in the office.
If you know that your pet is afraid of or doesn’t like sounds such as the doorbell or the clacking of the keyboard, try to create positive associations to each object or sound by praising your furkid or giving it a treat. Also, train your dog to be quiet in the office as barking can be very disruptive in any workplace—give it a treat whenever it’s silent and say, “Quiet.”