When you start a Pets at Work program, it's important to make sure everyone in the workplace is on the same page when it comes to roles and responsibilities. Here are our best tips, as well as tips from other pet-friendly workplaces, for keeping everything running smoothly.
Be Considerate to Your Colleagues
- Make sure your pet is well-trained and comfortable around new people and other pets.
- Before bringing pets into work, ask co-workers if they have allergies or any other concerns that could allow a pet to hinder their workday.
- Always ask if your pet is welcome before taking him on an occupied elevator.
- Know the pet-free areas of the office, such as restrooms, food preparation areas, fitness centers, day care areas, meeting spaces, etc.
- Make sure you’re not too busy with meetings on the days you bring your pet, as he should not be left unattended for long periods of time.
- Volunteer to help others, like they do at dog-friendly NorthWest Auto Salon. “If someone goes out of town, their co-worker will watch the dog and bring them into work just so the dog's routine can stay relatively uninterrupted,” co-owner Ben Abrams told us.
Be Considerate to Pets
- If you’re a pet owner, the first time you bring your pet to work, consider bringing him in over the weekend or on a day when the office is less busy. That way he can get acclimated to the new environment.
- Familiarize everyone with your pet’s needs. “Take the time to educate your co-workers on your training methods – consistency is key,” the staff at pet-friendly marketing firm R+M advise.
- Be conscious of the number of treats you’re feeding to pets. While it’s fun to treat them, too many snacks can lead to weight gain and other health problems. And never feed pets human food scraps. “Have some healthy pet snacks on hand but keep all human food way out of reach,” R+M says.
- Avoid doing anything that can make a pet feel uncomfortable. This can be clothes or even certain types of silly play.
- Teach any visiting children how to play with pets in a respectful way.
- If you see pets clashing, help break it up and make sure both pets are okay. R+M shares a tip: “When introducing new dogs to the ‘work pack,’ always do your introductions on the outside of the building, then walk the dogs in together. This helps ease any territorial issues.”
Help Maintain a Clean, Healthy Space
- If your pet has an accident, inside or outside the building, pick it up. Then let the appropriate people know so the area can be sanitized effectively.
- If your pet’s feeling sick, it’s best to leave him at home that day.
- Keep plastic bags with you at all times; it makes cleaning up after your pet a lot easier. “Stick to the same feeding and outdoor break schedule,” R+M adds, “Both you and your dog will appreciate it.”
- When walking throughout the building, your dog should always be on a leash (your cat can be held or in a carrier). “Simple things like covered trash cans keep pets safe and out of trouble,” R+M says.
- Keep your paperwork handy.
- Be sure to have your authorization form signed or company paperwork filled out before bringing pets to work.
- Have current proof of vaccinations for your pet in the office.
- Have the number and address of your veterinarian and an after-hours emergency clinic.
- Keep a list of any medications your pet may be taking.