While the office may be filled with perks like free coffee and snacks, your home office has the best perk of all–your four-legged assistant. As the world begins to return to normal, that may include returning to the office. A 2021 study by BARK revealed that over 70% of dog parents who are currently working from home will miss their dog when they go back to work (and the other 30% are monsters). But maybe they don’t have to. Sniff out these tips for creating dog-friendly offices.
1. Check the Policy
Before Fido gets his employee badge, double check with your company that he’s allowed. Even if you work in an office, it may be connected to an area that’s not safe for dogs, like a lab or a factory. Or maybe your company loves dogs, but their landlord doesn’t (boo). Ensure that your building allows dog-friendly offices and also the nitty gritty details, like breed or size restrictions. Maybe some photos of your dog using his best puppy eyes will help sway the landlord to make an exception for him!
2. Talk to Your Coworkers
You may talk to your coworkers about slide decks and data analysis all day, but have you talked to them about their thoughts on dogs? While Fluffy may be an excellent paw-sistant for you, your coworkers may feel otherwise. Dog allergies, phobias, and concerns over noise and distraction are all valid reasons they may not want a four-legged coworker.
3. Review the Space
While the office may be dog-friendly in policy, take a second to evaluate if the space is. Is there room for a dog to navigate and have the zoomies without disrupting everyone else’s work? Will the loud, surprise noises from the construction next door scare your dog? Do you work in an environment that may expose your dog to toxic materials? Ask yourself some honest questions to determine if a dog would thrive at work with you.
4. Set Boundaries and Rules
Dogs rule, boundaries and rules drool! They may be boring, but it’s important to set up ground rules from the get-go for yourself, your dog, and your coworkers. Establish things like how many dogs are allowed in the office, how they’ll be restrained, what care plans are if you need to leave your dog alone (i.e. a trip to the bathroom or a client meeting). Some places may not allow dogs where food is served, like the breakroom or cafeteria. Having these rules hammered out before the dogs start coming to work will help make the transition easier.
While no one likes extra paperwork, having a waiver or agreement may be a good idea to ensure everyone understands what their responsibilities are.
5. Make Time for Dogs
Most meetings can probably be an email, but here you are, sitting in essentially 8 straight hours of meetings. No one’s happy, especially Spot!
If dogs are going to be in the office, create a company culture that’s conducive for working with your pet. Taking exercise breaks is great for lifting the mood and increasing focus, but also a pawfect opportunity to take your dog out to potty and stretch his legs. It’s your dog’s favorite saying, “two birds with one bone.”
6. Get the Right Supplies
As a seasoned pet owner, you have all the gear for your dog…but of course when you need it, it’s at home. Make sure your office has what dogs will need: comfy dog beds, quiet toys to play with, poop bags, cleaning supplies, and of course, snackies.
7. Introduce the Collie-gues
Some dogs become besties with everyone ASAP, but that may not be the case for all pups. Before bringing dogs to the office, try and do meet and greets with the soon-to-be office pups to ensure that their play styles match.
8. Conduct Doggy 101
Not everyone’s been #blessed by a dog in their life, but having basic dog-handling skills may be necessary for safe, dog-friendly offices. Host a Dog 101 course so everyone’s working with the same base knowledge, even if they’re a dog newbie. Topics like how to use basic dog equipment, signs of a stressed/over-stimulated dog, or how to pet a dog are all things that will make everyone more comfortable with their new four-legged coworkers.
Also, while every hooman should be responsible for their own dog, take the time to know the basics of the other pups in the office. Dietary restrictions, medications, behavioral quirks, etc. should all be shared to ensure that all of the dogs are set up for a healthy and successful time starting from their first day at work!
What are your tips for dog-friendly offices? Woof at us in the comments, and tag #SidewalkDog with your pup’s workday adventures!
Featured photo: MarlyneArt
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