Are Dogs a Good (Clean) Idea in the Office?
Many statistics say that dogs (and other pets) in the office reduce stress and increase productivity. Consider these 4 questions before you open up your office to a new mascot.
Over the past couple of years, the trend of allowing dogs in the office – or even having an “office pet” – has grown more and more acceptable. While many love seeing Rover’s cute little face during the day, there are some things to consider when determining if this is a good idea. Consider these questions before opening up your space to office mascot:
1. Who will be working in the office
Obviously, the biggest consideration is for your fellow co-workers. While many people enjoy dogs, there are also many people with allergies that can range from minor to major. Keep this in mind and be sure to ask everyone if they are allergic before you consider allowing employees to bring in their beloved doggies. If allowing dogs in the office is a constant, we recommend incorporating questions and/or notifications about allergies into discussions with new hires.
2. Where will they be kept?
While employees are usually responsible for their own pets, it’s also a good idea to have a spot where the animals can go if they get a big rowdy, or if their owner needs a break. Try to find a place that is away from most of the team. It doesn’t need to be a huge space – a small space will do. Be sure to clean this area often, especially if there are dogs that shed who visit your office. Try to do a weekly cleaning of this area…at least!
3. Who will be in charge of the clean-up and maintenance?
One of the issues that office pets can cause is trying to answer the question of “whose responsibility is this?” The answer to that question can vary, but it’s a good idea to establish a schedule (either weekly or daily) with cleaning and walking responsibilities for the animal. Dogs especially are territorial animals and will probably have an accident or two while at the office. Make sure you know who is responsible on that day, and have the proper disinfectants to take care of the potential messes. Always be over-prepared when it comes to being clean.
4. Who will be visiting the office?
Make sure anyone who comes into the office is comfortable with dogs and allergy free. If they are uncomfortable – or have allergies – be sure to steer them to a pet-free space in the office. We recommend keeping dog(s) at home a day or two in advance of someone’s visit. Dog hair, dander and pet smells can a while to dissolve. To avoid long-lasting, negative effects from puppy visits, the best practice is to limit the dog days in the office to 1-2 days per week. Many statistics say this is long enough to have all the benefits of pets in the office (reduce stress, increase productivity), yet short enough to avoid long-lasting negative effects on office health.