Sure, your pet scratches your furniture or chews up paper at home. But when you bring him to work, he must be on his best behavior.
With more employers allowing pets in the workplace and others permitting Take Your Dog to Work Day (this year it’s Friday, June 26), it’s a good time to learn about petiquette, or pet etiquette—the proper way for your pet to go public.
Here are few tips to keep in mind from PetsMatter:
Does your pet have the right demeanor?
If your pet is aggressive or overly shy, it’s best to leave her home, says Beth Stultz, marketing and communications manager for Pet Sitters International and Take Your Dog to Work Day spokesperson. Consider how your pet has behaved in the past around strangers before making the decision to bring her, she says. If your pet has shown fear, irritability, or aggression, or if she’s never met strangers, the workplace is not the best place to test her. Is your pet vaccinated? Keep your pet’s vaccinations up to date, and keep a record of it for your employer.
Is your pet clean and groomed?
Even pets don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression. Make plans to have your pet bathed and/or groomed and her nails clipped before accompanying you to work.
Have you prepared your workspace?
Make sure your office environment is safe. Remove poisonous plants and pesticides. Hide electrical cords and wires. Secure toxic items such as permanent markers. Any office items in question should be placed out of your pet’s reach.
Have you packed the essentials?
Include food, treats, bowls, toys, leash, paper towels, clean-up bags, and pet-safe disinfectant. If you are routinely in and out of your workspace, bring a baby gate for your doorway or a portable kennel for your pet’s comfort and your peace of mind. Plan your pet’s feeding times so potty breaks will come during your slow or break times.
Do you have an exit strategy?
It may turn out that your pet doesn’t like going to work. Should he become agitated or withdrawn, consider taking him home or plan in advance for your spouse, friend, or professional pet sitter to take him home. Never leave your pet alone in a vehicle while you work.
Benefits of Pets in the Workplace:
1. Help Reduce Stress
Dogs and cats are frequently recognized as great stress-relievers. Look into the eyes of a pet and suddenly your worries and deadlines seem to melt away. In fact, according to a 2012 research study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, on-the-job stress levels fell among a group of Greensboro, N.C., employees when they had their dogs by their side. Conversely, stress levels grew for their co-workers who either left their animals at home or who had no pet at all.
2. Encourages Longer Work Hours
Few of us would willingly work longer days. But put a pet in the office and suddenly you have a reason to stick around and finish that TPS report. According to a 2008 survey by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association of 50 small and large companies, companies that allow pets in the workplace not only have employees who are more willing to work longer hours, but also a lower rate of employee absenteeism.
3. Increased Camaraderie
Let’s face it, everyone has a co-worker that they just can’t stand. But what if that person had a cute dog with them in their cubicle? You’d be over there in a flash just like everyone else in the office. Suddenly you are all having conversations that strengthen work relationships beyond what any cheesy team-building exercise might do.