Establishing a Pet-Friendly Policy for Your Workplace

Yesterday we discussed why a pet-friendly policy may be a great addition to your internal culture. Pets help reduce stress and improve employee morale. However, you also want to ensure your office doesn’t end up proverbially going to the dogs.  Here are some tips for introducing a pet-friendly workplace:

  • Vaccination policy: Make sure employees are responsible pet owners. Require proof of current vaccinations before a pet can be brought to work. You may also want to require pets to be spayed or neutered and flea-free.
  • Be specific:  Although most employees are going to want to bring a dog or cat to work, there’s a full gamut of possibilities. If you want to limit to dogs and cats and ferret out the ferrets, state this in your policy.
  • Evaluate:  One company hires a professional trainer to assess a pet’s temperament before it can come to work.  Color coded leashes also help others know how the dog interacts with people, although superaggressive animals are a definite “no” in the workplace.
  • Keep out: You don’t have to give employee pets the run of the place. Stipulate in your policy where pets should not roam (kitchens, conference rooms, and bathrooms, for example). And, as noted earlier, you should also designate pet-free zones for employees who suffer from animal-related allergies.
  • Know the law: Some workplaces simply can’t accommodate animals, such as restaurants.  Check for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations.
  • Service animals are different: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires that most businesses allow service animals to accompany people with disabilities. Allowing service animals is different from instating a pet-friendly policy.

Ultimately, you will want to solicit employee feedback. If the policy is working or needs improvements, let them express their thoughts. Pet-friendly policies are among the latest frontier in employee benefits, and it might take some time to get it purr-fect.