Taking Your Pet To Work?
Follow These Pet-Friendly Guidelines to create a fun, safe and positive work environment!
By Gail Mayhugh
I love working from home again so I can be around my girls, Matilda and Millie. Matilda likes to lay in the hall across my doorway and Millie is either under my desk or right behind my chair. Don’t worry I’ve not rolled over her yet. More and more we see employers welcoming pets into the office or having “Take Your Pet to Work Day.” The American Pet Products Association conducted a survey and found there was a decrease in employee stress levels and less absenteeism with having pets in the workplace. Employees were also willing to put in extra hours because they didn’t have to rush home to feed and walk their pets. But with all that said, pets in a work environment do present special work conditions. Not all pets get along and so it’s important to keep in mind the safety of the employees and their pets.
Being this is their home away from home, don’t forget their wants and needs. For water, a weighted bowl or even better an elevated bowl so there will be less spills if you hit it. Squeaky toys will not be a good idea, so instead have special crew bones and soft toys to keep them occupied and quiet so you and your co-workers are not interrupted when they are in a playing mood.
So that they feel comfortable and safe, bring a bed or blanket for them to lay on. If your pet is crate trained buy one for your office. Leave it open as they might feel more comfortable and safe in it. If you have to step out of your office, they can go inside and keep out of trouble. At my Mom’s assisted living community they have a house dog named Jose. Sometimes she just likes to take a little nap in her crate away from all of the good meaning petting hands. If they’re not used to crating, use a child-proof safety gate to block off your area when you have to go into a meeting or if your little one likes to wander a lot.
One of my clients brought her pup to work, who was the sweetest Golden Retriever. But when we were in meetings she constantly had to lick my hands or legs, as well as nudging me to rub her ears. Now don’t get me wrong I loved her, but it was very distracting and honestly annoying after two hours. So please keep this in mind for your visiting clients or associates.
You might also want to consider some type of double door entrance or gate. Not everyone coming into your office may like pets or may even be afraid of them. My girlfriend is terrified of dogs as she was attacked by one. Having one run up to someone who isn’t aware that a dog is present will create a tense environment. Have a professional sign made that you hang outside your front door letting them know you are a pet-friendly office. Put your office number on the sign to call if they would like someone to greet them at the door before entering. This will allow your employees to properly secure their pets before your guest comes in.
It’s also important to keep your area neat and clean, don’t make this the responsibility of the cleaning people. Make sure you are considerate to people that may have allergies or are sensitive to pet scents. If you have a shedder bring a lint roller or a small dust buster. What also works extremely well are rubber gloves. These are the best in getting hair off rugs and upholstery. Matilda is a Sheltie and Millie a Border Collie, and rubber gloves are the only things that work like a charm. I use disposable ones, so one rub across my sofa, I turn the glove inside out and throw away.
You’ll also want to have a pet emergency kit handy. It wouldn’t hurt for each employee who has a pet to have one in their area. The Humane Society has a list of the items you should include.
We love our pets and being fortunate enough to be able to have them with us while we work is a privilege, not a right. So if you bring your pet to work, remember you need to be responsible for them at all times. Your little one must act appropriately, and consider your co-workers and those coming to your office. By considering these pet-friendly guidelines, your office can create a fun, safe and positive work environment for your employees and their beloved pets.
Gail Mayhugh, the owner of GMJ Interior Design has been designing in Las Vegas for over 20 years. She also supports animal rescues and shelters through her non-profit, www.SeniorsToTheRescue.org.