As wellness becomes a bigger priority in the workplace, many companies are allowing employees to bring their pets to work.
Even as supervisors embrace our furry friends, there are simple steps that can be taken to make "bring your pet to work day" a pleasant experience for everyone. Here are five important tips.
1. Familiarize yourself with company policy.
While some offices allow a "free for all" on their dog-friendly policies, many have more specific requirements. These rules can vary from age and breed restrictions to spay and neuter requirements. For example, my office requires proof of vaccinations, a small deposit, and only allows one pet in the office each day.
If you have heard that your office is pet-friendly, ask for the specifics in advance. No one wants to be humiliated in front of their dog by getting sent home for breaking the rules.
2. Plan in advance.
Going to the office for the first time is very exciting--there are new people to meet and new smells to discover. It's a good idea to take your dog on a walk before coming in so that they may be a little calmer throughout the day. Consider their meal times and other ways to keep the day as routine as possible for your dog despite the change in location.
It is also important to consider if you have meetings or commitments in the day that may make it difficult to keep an eye on your dog. You don't want to have to ask a co-worker to babysit your pup because you forgot that you are interviewing a prospective employee that day--trust me, I've been that person.
3. Give your co-workers a heads-up.
If it is your first time bringing your dog with you to work, review company policy for specifics on who needs to be notified in advance.
It's common courtesy to at least let the co-workers in your immediate area know that your dog will be in the office. Some people may be afraid of dogs or may not want your dog coming near them for various reasons.
4. Clean up after your pup.
While most dog owners are accustomed to properly disposing of their dog's waste, many offices are not equipped with dog potty stations. Remember to bring your own bags (BYOB?). Most of your co-workers would probably prefer if you dispose of the used baggies directly into the dumpster, rather than bringing them into the office kitchen or restroom.
On the topic of cleanliness, it's a good idea to remember to bring your own food and water bowls for your dog. Some people are strongly opposed to the idea of sharing dishes with dogs.
5. Keep your dog entertained
It is a good idea to bring your dog to work with you on days when your workload is lightest, but chances are, you still have work to complete. When I have work to do, I barricade my dog in my cubicle with me and set him up with some toys. I bought him a couple of quiet, squeaker-less toys to play with by my desk, as well a Kong that I stuff with treats.
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