Dogs in the Workplace (woof woof)

You want to bring your dog/cat/ferret/fish to work…well, ok!

Here at Hire Ventures, we have a pretty eclectic mix of clients! We help everyone, from high-tech corporate start-ups to family-owned donut shops and everything in between. No matter the business, if there are employees, there are sure to be HR needs. With all of our different clients and projects, we often are asked to craft some pretty unique policies. Well-written policies can help an organization ensure consistent practices and compliance, both essential to long-term success!

Specialty policies in the workplace are some of my favorite to write!

I’ve written everything from “Kegorator in the Breakroom” policies to “Unlimited PTO,” both of which are pretty fun. But my all-time favorite policy to craft for clients is a “Dogs in the Workplace” policy. I love this one because I think bringing your pet to work helps support a healthy work-life balance and allows you to have your companion right by your side throughout the day.

Not only is it good for the animal and the human, but it also has been shown to improve employee satisfaction and retention!  (win/win-win/win!)

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(Above photo credit, Ms. Betty & little Gigi, hard at work at Hillman Flooring & Design)

Perhaps you already allow dogs or pets in the workplace and haven’t quite thought you needed a formal policy. That could be true, and you could be ok, but I think a short policy in your employee handbook can go a long way in protecting you as an employer. It will also give your managers guidance, should a difficult situation ever come up

When crafting a Pets in the Workplace policy, here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Require that animals must be well socialized, office-ready, and current on all shots and flea preventative meds
  • You should give formal (and written) approval. Employees should submit a request to bring their pet to work, along with important info (breed, age, gender, confirmation they got fixed, trained, etc.).
  • In the policy, note that the company has the right to refuse certain breeds of dogs or specific pets if they exhibit aggression towards other dogs or humans.
  • The company should have the right to limit the animal’s size if needed and how much free roam they have in the office. Restrictions are solely up to you and your preferences!
  • If you have employees with pet allergies or fears, there should be pet-free zones to ensure they are not affected (humans should come first).
  • Make sure you have management support and proper approvals from the landlord or building manager.

Other considerations:

Ensure that your office space is pet-ready and that there are flexible areas that the animals can go outside to do their “duty”. There are some other policies or practices that may compliment your new pet-friendly work environment. Such policies or benefits include:

  • Pet Insurance
  • Pet Bereavement Leave
  • Company volunteer opportunities at your local shelter

There are lots of ways to show our employees that we care about them, and one is by allowing them to bring their pets to work.

What are your thoughts on this policy?

Have you ever worked at a company that allows you to bring your pet to work?

If you’d like a free Dogs in the Workplace policy template that you can easily incorporate into your employee handbook, we have it in our store! If you would like to access this FREE template, please click “Dogs in the Workplace Policy Template.”

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This post is in honor of my sweet Lucy, who passed in January of this year, she was the best office companion ever, and I miss her by my side every day.

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