Going Pet-Friendly Can Mean Happier Employees and Consumers
People love their pets. Two out of three households in the US have a pet and have spent a whopping $124 billion caring for them. Twenty-three million households added a pet during the pandemic and became accustomed to being able to spend their days with them. Many reported leaving their pets as one of the factors making it harder for them to return to the office.
Many people also report that having a pet increased their happiness and reduced their stress during the pandemic. That’s why FitBark has assembled some tips and resources for those businesses who are thinking about going pet-friendly.
Why Convert to a Pet-Friendly Workplace
Asking your employees to return to the office can come with some pushback on their part since the majority of remote workers say they prefer working from home. But allowing them to bring their pet with them can make the prospect a lot more desirable. Office pets can help boost morale and foster relationship-building between coworkers. And it will allow your employees to save money by eliminating the need for them to hire dog walkers during the day.
Companies with good benefits packages that include taking their happiness and emotional welfare into account often see higher productivity, better morale, and less turnaround. And it helps your company to remain competitive when you want to hire new employees. Most pet owners would consider the ability to bring their pet to work with them an important one of those benefits.
How to Manage a Pet-Friendly Workplace
You’ll want to enforce some rules, of course, and a detailed policy. One of those should be requiring employees to carry pet owner insurance to cover personal injury and property damage to other employees, customers, or delivery personnel. It’s smart to set a policy limiting the breed and size of the pet, too. Pets should be well groomed, healthy, and up to date on all of their shots. You may want to have pet-free zones or floors in the building for employees with allergies or who just prefer a pet-free atmosphere.
You may want to encourage employees to purchase a few items for their office pet, like bedding, food and water dishes, leashes, etc. Researching these products online with reviews from veterinary professionals will ensure they’re purchasing a product that is both safe and effective for its purpose.
Many dogs aren’t really suited for spending the day at an office, but there are other pet-friendly policies that don’t mean having them in the office all day, explains Time to Pet. You could offer time off for pet adoption and bereavement. Or schedule events on special pet holidays where employees with pets can get together in a fun and friendly atmosphere.
Consider Making Your Business Pet-Friendly for Customers
Today’s consumers feel reluctant to leave their pets at home when they shop or run errands. According to Better Cities for Pets, 79% of those surveyed said they value pets being welcome in businesses. Over a third of businesses already allow pets to accompany their guests, and nearly all make allowances for therapy support animals. Of course, Federal law regarding service animals states that businesses allow people with disabilities to bring their service animals onto business premises in whatever areas customers are generally allowed.
Important Preparation for Going Pet-Friendly
When you make the decision to allow your customers to bring their pets into your place of business, make sure you’re covered legally and financially. If you lease your building, check with the owner to make sure they don’t have a policy prohibiting that. And include that in your business owner's insurance policy to cover any liabilities stemming from having pets there. You should also check with all of your employees to determine if any have a fear of animals or may be allergic to them.
You could also consult with your HR professional regarding the best pet-based policy for your business. If you don’t have one, this might be a sign that it’s time to start looking for an online HR program that can supply not only answers but a tried-and-true strategy to this and other challenges you might face, like helping you focus on effectively managing and developing the workforce. And best of all, the flexibility of modern learning platforms means you can learn at your own pace, without having to take too much time away from work or family.
Pets in the workplace and in places of business are becoming more common. If it makes sense for you to offer these, you should make sure you’re prepared to do so by having a written policy in place for both employees and consumers. But once you’ve worked out all the details, you may find you have happier employees and a more loyal customer base.