So you’ve decided to open up your office to dogs? Congratulations, you’re one step closer to a happier, more productive working environment. But whether you’re looking to implement this for one day as part of ‘Take your Dog to Work Day’, or as a new dog-friendly policy, there are a number of things you need to consider to ensure that it’s a happy, safe environment for everyone involved. Here are some of the key points:
- Number of dogs You will want to think about how many dogs can be in the office at any one time. This may involve requiring owners to book when they bring their dogs in or implementing rotas
- Cleanliness and health Dogs should be clean and healthy, free of fleas etc. You may want to consider asking for proof of vaccines.
- House training You will need to find suitable areas outside your building where owners can take their dogs to relieve themselves. You’ll need to establish ground rules for ‘accidents’ in the workplace, and you’ll need to invest in appropriate cleaning products – regular cleaning materials may not be suitable.
- Behaviour – dogs Dogs brought into the office will need to demonstrate a good temperament. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to be wanting to ‘say hello’ to everyone all the time. Dogs will need to exhibit basic obedience and good behaviour.
- Behaviour – humans Owners need to take responsibility for their dogs actions, and to adhere to any policies and guidelines in place. Non dog-owners must respect the wishes of the dogs’ owners regarding their contact with the dogs, for example not all dogs enjoy being stroked.
- Allergies or phobias People in your office may have allergies to, or fear of dogs and these concerns cannot be ignored. Depending on the size of your workplace, there may be ability to have dog-free areas of the office (this generally a good idea anyway – for communal areas such as kitchens, or meeting rooms).
- Dog-friendly committee & policies You should consider having a committee made up of both dog owners, and non-dog owners. They may help to create the policy and guidelines, and help to enforce them.
- Insurance You should check whether your business insurance will be affected. If you rent your premises you will need to check with your landlord.
This may all seem a little overwhelming, and at times unnecessary, but it is far better to consider these things before welcoming dogs into the office than trying to deal with any issues as they arise.