Today is Take Your Dog to Work Day. Here are some tips for how you can incorporate the love of dogs into your workplace for one day or every day!
If you are a dog owner, you may have encountered this scenario once or twice: as you walk out the door in the morning to head to your job, you take one last glance back, only to find your pooch begging you through sad eyes to take them with you. Fortunately for dog owners and the canines who love them, dog-friendly workplace programs continue to increase in popularity, allowing many of these dogs to be happily invited along when their best friend leaves for work each day.
There are good reasons for employers increasingly allowing their employees to bring their dogs to work. Studies show that dog-friendly workplaces can reduce stress, increase productivity, build collaboration, attract talent and even decrease absenteeism. Many also attribute dogs in the workplace to improved employee retention. Best of all, though, companies that allow employees to bring their dogs to work report that it gives them a competitive edge when it comes to recruiting.
If you are thinking of allowing dogs in the workplace, then, just like with any other new workplace program, planning and monitoring are imperative. Here are four things to think about before opening your workplace to canine companions.
1) Your business goals
What is your reason for wanting to allow dogs in the workplace? Is it to improve recruitment and retention? Are you interested in general wellness or a desire to shift office culture? Do you want to decrease absenteeism? Identify what you want to achieve and then pinpoint how allowing dogs in the workplace can positively contribute to that end result.
From there, think about the challenges dogs in the workplace can bring and how those challenges may harm your business goals. Then, weigh the benefits against the risks and decide if opening your workplace to dogs is worth it.
Consider your industry, number of employees, office location and needs of your business to decide if having dogs at your company makes sense logistically. A few things to take into account include:
3) Employee input
If you’re considering inviting dogs into your business, conduct a survey to gauge employee interest in a dog-friendly workplace. Make sure to involve everyone. Use the survey to gauge both interest in a dog-friendly work environment and collect suggestions for best ways to implement your new program. This can be as simple as emailing the whole team and asking them to respond to a few questions:
4) Potential HR issues
Before allowing dogs onsite, contact your workers’ compensation and general insurance carrier to discuss the potential of dog bites or dog-related injuries to employees. Work with your onsite HR person or HR services provider to implement policies and procedures to avoid any potential hazards. You may also want to consult a dog trainer or behaviorist for ways to adapt your environment and policies to ensure everyone’s safety and well-being.
Put a committee in place to oversee your program. Charge them with implementing and monitoring your policies and procedures in regard to having dogs in the workplace. Have this committee meet regularly to track success and address any issues.
Other things to consider when creating your policy for a dog-friendly workplace:
If you do decide to move forward with a dog-friendly policy, it may make sense to start with doing it on a trial basis--like for one week or one month--before making it a permanent part of your workplace culture.
If you decide not to allow dogs in your office full-time, there are many alternative methods for implementing dogs into your office culture that may better suit your business:
This communication is for informational purposes only; it is not legal, tax or accounting advice; and is not an offer to sell, buy or procure insurance.
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