How to create a pet friendly work place_ image only

How to create a pet friendly workplace?

A few weeks ago we wrote about why more businesses should move towards being pet friendly. You can see that article HERE.

As promised, although a little later than planned here is our 5 step guide to moving towards a pet friendly work place. This is just the basics though and every workplace will be different.

Step 1 – Get everyone on board!

This kind of goes without saying, but management need to agree on a pet friendly policy, so engage with them and work to get their support. A good starting point would be to send our article to your management on why a business should go pet friendly. You’ll need to have their full support in getting the policy in place.
The next step is to check with the rest of the team, someone might have an allergy or a phobia of pets. If they do, I think that this policy might just not be suited to your work place or you’ll have to work to ensure these people have a pet free work space!

Step 2 – What’s the rules?  

The next step is to start creating the policy. What type of pets will you allow? Just cats and dogs? How about snakes or birds? A great way to work out these rules is through a team survey, or just get everyone in a room and use a show of hands to decide on these rules. (This all depends on the size of your business!) The things we would recommend covering off are:

  • Type of pets
  • All day or particular days?
  • How many pets on any given day? (We suggest a shared calendar to plan who has pets in work & when)
  • What zones are pet free?
  • Who is responsible for cleaning up any mess? (We mean the 2 p’s! 💩)
  • Should all pets be vaccinated? (The answer here should always be YES, but still discuss so everyone is clear on the rules.)
  • What behaviours are against the rules? (Aggression, excessive barking etc.)

A few other things we think will help in creating the rules and making the policy effective are:

  • We recommend a three strike rule concerning breaches of the rules such as behavioural (either of the pet or the owner)
  • We recommend setting up a team who oversee the policy and its effectiveness.
  • We recommend running bring your dog to work trials to help gauge how the team enjoys it!

Step 3 – What does the lawyer say?

With everything in this world, there’ll be liability issues. We suggest taking a few steps (along with your solicitor & HR team) to ensure that the environment is as safe as possible for the pets, the people and the company.

  • Ensure the correct insurance is in place, for everyone.
  • A form for your team members bringing their pets to work. This can include a release to keep your company safe. Be sure to create agreements that match your company culture
  • Do you need to see up to date vaccines? (Ask your team members to download the MyPet app. It’s a great way to store this information digitally and it’s available on IOS and android.)
  • Create a written and published policy for all the team to see.

Step 4 – The workplace!

Be sure to ensure your landlord is okay with your new policy of pets in the workplace. This could affect the company agreement with them. A few other things to consider are:

  • Do you need to add anything such as pet drinking areas or pet play areas?
  • Do you need to put in gates to keep pets safe?
  • Do you need to restrict pet access to any areas such as food preparation areas?
  • Do you need to create an outside area for walking or pets doing the 2 p’s? (💩)
  • How about leash ties? (Areas to tie pets up outside bathrooms etc.)

Step 5 – It’s a go!

The next step after publishing the policy is kick off, let your team know that the policy is now effective or when its effective from. At this point you need to remind everyone of the rules that are in place, to make it a safe and enjoyable environment for both the pets and the people. A few things you should do regularly (and include these in the policy) are:

  • Check the policy is working, whether this be by asking people in the canteen or sending out a review.
  • Ensure a review after any incident,
  • Have a way to check pets are happy too, perhaps have 1 or 2 people trained by a vet or trainer in recognising stress or discomfort of the pets.

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