1. Worker performance
- encourages team building
- can be intimidating
- may be distracting
Dogs can encourage bonding and collaboration at work, but they can also become a distraction from the job at hand. Productivity may decrease if the time spent interacting with an animal outweighs the time spent on completing tasks – and this ultimately affects a company’s bottom line. Also, having an animal around might be intimidating for some workers, while others may object on religious grounds. An anonymous questionnaire can help gauge employees’ feelings about pets at work.
2. Company culture
- can create a relaxed culture
- not appropriate in some businesses
- customer expectations may differ
An organisation that allows employees to bring their dogs to work may be considered attractive because it creates a relaxed, familiar atmosphere. But not every company’s culture lends itself to having dogs in the workplace. While it might be appropriate at an internet start-up or a microbrewery, it may not be at a financial services company or a legal practice. It’s important to recognise that while having canine company at work might be appealing to you and your staff, there is a risk that your customers won’t agree.
3. Tenancy agreements
- Some landlords won’t allow dogs
- always discuss the issue first
- get any pet agreements in writing
Many commercial tenancy agreements include clauses that prohibit animals on the premises so it’s important that you check the terms of your agreement if you intend to allow dogs at work. You should also discuss your plans with your landlord or building manager, and make sure you get any waivers or changes to your tenancy agreement in writing before allowing dogs access.
4. Health and safety
- dogs can be unpredictable
- injuries in the workplace are the business’s responsibility
- you will need the right insurance is in place
Business owners could be held responsible if an animal injures an employee or visitor to the office. Animals can get nervous in new environments and around new people, which could cause even the most well-behaved dog to act out of character. And an unsanitary dog can create a serious health and safety issue. It’s advisable to make sure that no one in the workplace has any allergies triggered by dogs, and that your business insurance covers injuries caused by animals on your premises.
5. Property damage
- protect IT equipment
- set up animal-free zones
- ask dog owners to sign a waiver
Pets can cause damage to furniture at home, and it’s no different in the workplace. But at work there might be expensive computer equipment, not to mention carpets, office furniture and other workers’ property for a dog to destroy. It might be necessary to ask owners to sign a waiver saying they will be financially liable for any damage caused by their dog. Also consider setting up no-dog zones at work, where animals aren’t allowed.