6 ways to make a workplace dog-friendly7 April 2023
Reviewed by Dr Jill McMaster BVM&S MBA MRCVS, Veterinary Surgeon and in-house expert at BorrowMyDoggy on 14 June 2023
The future of work is still unknown; will we never buy smart trousers again as we continue to work from home forever as a floating upper body? Will we go back to the office full-time, get back to the normal daily commute and just pretend 2019 ran straight into 2022? Or maybe, more likely, end up working a hybrid of the two?
With 63% of pet owners concerned about how their furry friends will fit around working post pandemic, organisations need to listen to these worries and make a plan for their pet-owning employees. So, here are 6 points to consider when creating a ‘dog-friendly’ workplace.
- Make Sure Everyone is Happy - Here at BorrowMyDoggy we all love dogs, but we appreciate not everyone does. Whether colleagues have allergies, fears or are simply not a fan of pups, they might not appreciate a co-worker’s labrador bounding over for a cuddle. For these colleagues, the creation of a dog-free space for example can help, but fundamentally for a successful dog-friendly office, the whole team needs to be consulted and happy to go ahead, as everyone should feel comfortable at their work.
- Keep the Dogs Comfortable - As well as making sure our co-workers are happy, our dogs should feel comfortable too. Pups should have a soft place to lie, at the right temperature and enough space to move around and stretch. A small bed under a desk might suit Tom’s Chihuahua, Susan’s Great Dane however, might need a bit more room, so we need to be aware of our individual dog’s needs.
- Dog-Proof the Space - As well as being comfortable it’s important to keep our dogs safe and healthy in the workplace. Even the best behaved pups enjoy a good dustbin dive, or counter surf, so be careful as some seemingly innocent objects, can cause problems if eaten or knocked over by our fuzzy friends. Simple things like hot cups of coffee and thumb tacks on the floor, can injure a dog, so be very careful to doggy-proof the office. Dogs that come into the office should also be vaccinated and up to date on worming and flea treatment, to prevent them passing anything on to other pups, or co-workers.
- Agree to Some Ground Rules - Before bringing their dog into work it’s a good idea for each employee to agree to follow some Doggy Dos and Don’ts. Everyone needs to be responsible for their own dog, any accidents they might have and pay repair costs for any damages. Also, if there is not enough space to safely have everyone’s dog in every day, a booking system can help make sure there are not too many in at once. An individual fact sheet on each of the canine co-workers can be useful too to advise everyone on things like dietary issues, to prevent a kind colleague giving out treats that a pooch’s tummy can’t handle, which could result in the pup in question not being the most popular desk mate for the rest of the day.
- The Office Isn’t for Every Dog - Some dogs love being office dogs, making pals with both human and canine colleagues, but others might not. They might be shy with other dogs, wary of people or sensitive to noise. It could also be that they might be a bit too noisy for a quiet office, not mastered toilet training, or a fan of chewing useful things like wires and desks. In these cases, being a dog-friendly workplace could mean finding other options for employees, like company membership to BorrowMyDoggy for Work, to help employees’ find a trusted borrower to help with their dog care needs.
- Dogs Aren’t for Every Office - Just like not all dogs are suitable for office life, not all offices are suitable for dogs. There are many reasons including space available, materials you work with and conditions of let, where a dog-friendly office just might not work for your organisation. That doesn’t mean you can’t still be a dog-friendly organisation though, and that’s where BorrowMyDoggy comes in. As an employee you can have the peace of mind that your dog is being looked after by a trusted local person, and as an employer you can show that you care about what matters to your employees.
With 12 million dogs in the UK, and almost two-thirds of new owners aged 16-34, we need to have plans in place to care for these pets when we return to the office. Organisations need to make sure that all employees’ dog care needs are met, and be open to individual differences. Having dogs in the office can work well for some companies, as can using BorrowMyDoggy for Work to provide dog care assistance to employees, or maybe a combination of the two.
Wondering how your dog will cope with you going (back) to work? Read our guide on what to do with dogs when at work!
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