Enhance your success: Take your dog to work.

Today is Take Your Dog to Work Day.  The annual event was founded by Pet Sitters International to encourage employers to consider the benefits of pets in the workplace. Head over to their website and you’ll find a downloadable action pack that gives you a ton of background, great ways to convince people of the event’s worthiness and planning tips.

There is a considerable amount of research that shows allowing dogs in the workplace reduces stress, enhances morale, increases productivity and ultimately profitability.  ?Some studies show that it also creates more collaboration at work. It could also improve the health of your team.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites dozens of animal experts who report that pets can decrease blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as increase opportunities for exercise and socialization.

As one former Google employee noted that bringing his dog to work helped keep his energy up, brought joy to co-workers and helped him meet people he probably wouldn’t have met otherwise.

Many small businesses are becoming pet-friendly work environments as a unique benefit they can offer to their employees.  Small companies can’t compete with the big benefit packages larger companies offer, but there are a lot of animal lovers who would prefer being able to bring their furry companion to work to a big package of perks.

So how to you make this work in your small business?

  •  Get Your Team on Board.  First, you have to get buy-in from your staff.  Check with your employees to make sure their aren’t serious allergies or people who are simply afraid of animals.

Then you’ll need to establish guidelines for your pet-friendly program.  Here are      some things to consider.

  •  Types of Animals.  You may not make the program available open to all types of animals.  Do you really want someone bringing in their beloved pet Boa Constrictor?  Make a list of what types of animals are allowed.  Also, prohibit sick and dirty animals, and pets that aren’t socialized.  Size may be an issue, as well as behavior. Dogs that are constantly barking may be a disturbance for your team.
  •  Establish Appropriate Areas.  Not all workplaces are conducive to a pet-friendly environment.  Establish parameters as to what areas of the office pets will be allowed.   You may want to create pet-free zones — areas that are off-limits to pets.  Small Dog Electronics in Vermont allows dogs in the warehouse area and corporate offices, but not in the retail store.  Customers may not be appreciative of your furry staff
  • Clean up.  Pets should be house-broken but accidents happen.  Make sure employees understand they must clean-up after their animals. Keep appropriate cleaning products on hand in your office.
  • Trained or Contained.   To keep dogs from getting out of control they should be trained to stay with their owner or they should have a travel bag the animal can rest in should the owner need to leave their work area without their pet. My dog has a little Sherpa travel bag he loves.
  •  Insurance Coverage.  Check with your insurance agent to make sure your insurance coverage would protect you from liability should someone be injured by an animal in your workplace.
  • Policing.  Create a committee to police the program.  Some companies have a three strikes you’re out rule.  If co-workers are responsible for policing the program, it reduces hard-feelings for the manager or owner.

You can find more information about how to make your office a dog- or pet-friendly environment at www.dogfriendly.com.

For me, every day is take your dog to work day and I love it. Here are my two office mates.