The end of Plan B Covid restrictions sees people being encouraged back to the office after home-working – with millions of lockdown pups potentially being left at home. The National Pet College is encouraging employees to consider the practicalities of becoming dog-friendly workplaces.
We all know the benefits of having contact with pets, and the workplace environment is no exception, but there are other considerations that are often overlooked. The college’s new Dogs in the Workplace course investigates the practicalities of having dogs on the premises, the openness of other colleagues, and the suitability of the dog and the impact on its welfare.
The college offers the following top five tips for companies looking to share their office space with dogs:
- Assess the available space
Make sure the office space is suitable for accommodating dogs. Is there enough space to welcome dogs into the office and position a dog bed or crate? Can dogs easily be contained safely within the working environment, or is there a possibility of escape?
Are there easily accessible outdoor areas where dogs can toilet and exercise during the day along with a suitable waste disposal bin?
- Check that everyone is on board with the idea
Starting with the building landlord, facilities management, HR teams and department managers, check that creating a dog-friendly workplace is acceptable to everyone. NPC recommends that colleagues are consulted, and objections taken into account, to ensure that everyone is on board with welcoming dogs into the office.
- Develop a ‘doggy code of conduct’
Carrying out suitable risk assessment and creating a ‘doggy code of conduct’ is essential so that everyone involved knows their responsibilities and ensures an agreeable environment for both team members and dogs. Considerations include if those bringing their dogs in will contribute to the cost of a regular deep clean to remove doggy odours and if owners agree to keep flea and worm treatments up to date. Sample risk assessments and behaviour guides are available as part of the NPC course.
- Dog-proof the office
To make dog-friendly workplaces, take a look at the office from a dog’s point of view to come up with ideas of what could be problematic. Make sure all loose wires are secured, water and food is kept away from electrical equipment and any potentially chewable equipment is placed out of reach, as well as restricting any areas where dogs are not allowed to go and using appropriate signs to identify areas where dogs are present.
- Monitor the welfare of the dog
Bringing their dog to work may be the owner’s ideal solution, but it is important to assess how suitable the dog is for the workplace. NPC provides a Canine Goodness of Fit assessment to examine if the dog will cope with a busy work environment or if it was cause a significant distraction every time the door opens or phone rings. It may be that alternative solutions for dog care are needed, such as a dog walker or a licensed dog day-care provider.
Companies who complete the course will be able to display an exclusive ‘Responsible Employer’ logo at their office and on their marketing materials.