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Office pet policies: the good, bad, and ugly

Allowing pets at work can be a bonding and business boosting technique. It can also go horribly wrong. Do you have a pet friendly office?

office pet policies

Office pet policies

Everyone has encountered a dog at an office, and be honest.. how many were appalled at the sight of the wet-nosed, waggedy-tailed greeter? Probably none.

Pets, or at least nicely trained ones, lower stress levels and blood pressure, and there is a big argument that they raise morale in business settings. Is implementing a pets allowed policy right for your business? Here is a rundown of the good, the bad, and the ugly.

In a front office type of situation, a pet greeter, of the dog or cat persuasion, may be good for morale and for business as well. Many customers will instinctively pet, chat, and bond with the animals while simultaneously lingering. Just like peaceful music and calming colors are used as subliminal cues to hang around longer, a pet could be a sale boosting technique. The office mascot can encourage bonding among employees as well.

Employees bringing in pets

It is when the focus shifts to allowing employees to bring their own pets in for the work day that the lines get a bit, ahem, fuzzy. While it can be a great morale boosting policy, some rules need to be outlined so everyone stays happy. Everyone, both pet owners and non-owners, may be on board with the idea in the beginning, but the claws (I can’t resist) will come out once a Chihuahua named Bruiser piddles on someone’s Jimmy Choos.

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As the pet owner and supporter of a pet policy, you must be willing to pay for damages that accrue, or you must make it clear that each owner is monetarily responsible for pet damage. Perhaps, in the spirit of home renting, a pet deposit can be paid by those who choose to bring their four legged friends to work, though the relationship between the shoe owner and the poo owner may never be the same, and could come across negatively. Endangering co-worker relationships is a side effect you’ll have to consider.

If you are a pet lover yourself who feels strongly about what pets could contribute to your business, a safer option could be an office community pet. Do your research, however. Fish die. Turtles live forever. You’ll need a compromise. As the boss, you will also need to prepare for perpetual weekend duty rather than taking turns with custody. My fifth grade daughter is still living down the shame of a weekend gone wrong with her first grade class’s mascot, and it was a stuffed teddy bear.

Written By

Kristyl Barron holds a BA in English Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and an MHR in Counseling/Organizational Management from the University of Oklahoma. Barron has been writing professionally since 2008, and projects include a memoir entitled Give Your Brother Back His Barbie and an in progress motivational book called Aspies Among Us.

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