Not long ago, the presence of pets in the workplace was considered either a strict “don’t” or (at best) an oddball eccentricity. The modern workplace is challenging that standard. From cutting edge mega-companies like Google, to small businesses and startups, pets are finding they are not only welcome, but are a desirable part of the work environment. Supported by medical studies, in the workplace, pets can decrease stress, lower blood pressure, help workers feel more connected to their environment. Pets can even help increase employee productivity!
Following that trend, June 18–25 has been designated as Take Your Pet to Work Week. It’s a chance to let your furry companions see where you go when you’re not home to cuddle and play with them, and an opportunity for your coworkers to meet your pets. The help you and your pet make the most of this week, here are few ways to ensure your pet’s foray into the workplace goes smoothly.
Presented with an unfamiliar environment and new people, your pet will likely want to stay close to you, So, you should provide a comfortable place where your furry friend can feel safe while you work. A favorite pet bed or blanket, along with access to dry food and water, should be sufficient to keep your pet comfortable. If you do bring a toy, avoid those that make noise or are easily chewed to pieces—your coworkers will appreciate it.
The ideal office pet should be well socialized, both with people and other pets. A pet that easily becomes anxious or aggressive in unfamiliar surroundings is likely a poor candidate for an office companion; however, most pets acclimate well if given time. One way to help your pet have a better office experience is to take him/her on a quick romp before work to burn off any stress energy. A little exercise early in the day can pay dividends in a calmer, less stressed pooch later in the day.
A quick refresher of house manners can help ensure that your pet stays on its best behavior while a guest in your office. As always, good behavior should be rewarded, so you may want to have some treats handy as reinforcement. Also, you may want to review a few basic logistics with your employer—such as where and when you can take your pup out for a walk, where to dispose of waste, etc. Remember that your pet is your responsibility, so bring a leash or harness along.
As an organization, putting some basic guidelines for bringing pets into the workplace can make such pet friendly programs a success. The Humane Society of the United States suggests the following steps to set the process in motion:
1. Gauge interest in the idea among your coworkers.
2. Emphasize the benefits to the company.
3. Ensure that the workplace can handle the presence of pets.
4. Outline places (such as restrooms) that would be off-limits to pets.
5. Suggest a trial run.
The Start of Something Big?
If you’re looking for ways to make your workplace pet-friendly every week of the year, Take your Pet to Work Week can provide a springboard for bringing such proposals to your employer. Not only will the experience show you (and your boss) what works and what doesn’t when it comes to having pets in the office, but it can showcase the many assets of a pet-friendly workspace. Remember to get feedback and suggestions from your coworkers too, as this will help present a unified approach to your employer.
With these tips in mind, we hope that you (and your pets) will have a happy and productive week!
Editor’s Note: In the spirit of Take Your Pet To Work Week, here are more examples of how organizations are celebrating pet parents and pets in the workplace year-round.
Cecily Kellogg is a pet lover who definitely has crazy cat lady leanings. Her pets are all shelter rescues, including the dog, who is scared of the cats. She spent eight years working as a Veterinary Technician before becoming a writer. Today she writes all over the web, including here at Figo.
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