Pets do everything from soothing stress to providing comic relief at the workplace. In fact, pets are becoming such a part of our professional lives that many big companies now offer dog-friendly workplace policies and perks, like pet health insurance in their benefits packages.
Making a workplace safe for pets is important – after all, our furry friends aren’t eligible for workers’ compensation. Here’s how to make sure your facility won’t place pets in peril.
Before allowing tenants to bring best friends into the office, be sure to clear all areas of anything that could tempt dogs to chew, and keep things like fans, paper cutters, and printers up high and away from the ends of tables, where they could be knocked over onto unsuspecting pets. Dogs can suffer burns to the mouth, paws, and face from chewing on cables, so keep dangling cords out of paws’ reach.
Cake, candy, and other office treats should never be left out on countertops when pets are on the clock. No one wants to share a cubicle with a pet in intestinal distress – but more importantly, human foods like coffee and chocolate can actually poison pets. Provide plenty of tall trash cans with locking lids, and remind workers to discard their leftover lunches.
Doors that lead to parking lots, loading docks, and busy streets can be gateways to disaster for roaming dogs. Provide crates, gates, and leash tethers to keep four-legged friends secured in the doghouse. Remember that pets’ paws can easily be punctured by high heels if someone makes a misstep, and rolling chairs can crush toes or tails in close quarters. Really think about whether there’s enough space to accommodate pets before inviting them to work.
Finally, keep toys, treats, and anything pets might compete over out of common areas, and establish an outside-only rule for play. Just as coworkers can sometimes clash, dogs don’t always play well together. Little squabbles here and there are normal, but it’s best to adopt a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to a truly aggressive pet.
When welcoming pets into an office building, it is a good idea to have pet parents sign an official pet policy that clearly spells out all of the rules. Put safety first and set boundaries and you’ll reap the many benefits of a pet-friendly workplace.
Natasha Ashton is the co-CEO and co-founder of Petplan pet insurance and its quarterly glossy pet health magazine, fetch!