How Desk Booking Software Can Help Support Pet-Friendly Office Policies
The pandemic was tough on everyone—except pets. As one New York Times headline put it, “your dog had the best year ever.”
With employees back in the office full or part-time, more workplaces than ever are opting for pet-friendly office policies to keep both pets and pet-owners relaxed, productive, and happy.
Post-pandemic, employees want pets in the office more than ever before
After all the uninterrupted bonding time between owners and pets over the last few years, leaving pets at home during the workday is a daunting idea for many.
Even if your hybrid workplace arrangement means people are only in the office a few days a week, this time apart can create serious separation anxiety for pets—and employees.
- One study found that 63% of pet-owning employees said the increased time at home they spent during the pandemic makes them worried about how their dog will cope when they return to the office.
- This same study reported that 57% say they’ll be most happy returning to the physical office if they can bring their pets with them.
- Another study found that 89% of employees said it’s important for them to be able to continue spending time with their pets during the workday, and two-thirds said they would bring their pets to the office if allowed.
Being a pet-friendly workplace is a great perk that just requires a little extra consideration and planning.
In a bid to balance the wishes of pet-owners with concerns of others and the needs of the office, many orgs are opting for desk booking software as a way to manage pets on site.
Related content: How Flexible Seating Arrangements Can Improve Your Hybrid Office
Benefits of having pets in the office
They can be a great morale boost
Pets make us feel good, period, and studies show that dogs can measurably boost our mental health.
Whether it’s by keeping us active, helping us build community and connection, or reducing anxiety and depression, the mental health benefits of being around pups are real.
- Other research shows that nearly 70% of respondents reported that having a dog provided a very high or high level of mental health support.
- Axios reported that one survey found that pet owners believe bringing their pooch to work would encourage them to take breaks—an essential aspect of remaining productive.
The bottom line: On-site pets boost employee morale, and a morale boost is always good for the workplace overall.
It makes it easier for employees with pets to return to the office
For those with pets, a no-pets-allowed office policy creates significant challenges—and not just emotional ones. Consider that:
- Leaving a dog alone for 8 hours is simply not feasible.
- Employees are then on the hook to pay for dog daycare or to hire a dog walker to come by, which are significant added costs.
- Employees may be less inclined to come into the office, or even look for a job elsewhere, considering the additional financial burden and challenge of logistics that a no-pets-allowed office policy creates.
Considerations for a pet-friendly workplace policy
While most employees will be pleased to have friendly pets around the office, it’s important to be thoughtful when considering allowing pets in the workplace.
To avoid awkward or unpleasant situations, it’s best to have a pet policy that’s as clear and detailed as possible.
As you build or refine your pet-friendly office policy, consider the following:
- Require that pets are parasite-free, clean, and have proof of vaccination.
- Stipulate that only well-behaved dogs be allowed in the office. At a minimum, dogs should be able to respond to the commands sit, stay, and come.
- Request that dogs who will be in the office together first meet each other outside of the workplace before coming to work. This will give them the time and space they need to sniff and suss each other out and make sure in-office interactions are friendly.
- Accidents happen, so it’s wise to explicitly state that owners are responsible for cleaning up after their pets.
Ask employees to sign a pet-policy agreement that includes the above, but also certifies that:
- Their dog has never been aggressive toward people or other dogs.
- The pet-owning employee is fully responsible for the dog and the dogs’ actions within the workplace.
It’s also worth conducting a survey prior to writing up your pet policy, and give employees a chance to state their feelings (anonymously, if possible) about pets in the workplace. Or, consider making a company-wide announcement that a policy is in the works, and encourage employees to reach out to HR or People Operations if they have concerns or anything they want to bring up.
Related content: How Desk Hoteling Can Improve Employee Happiness
Desk-booking software makes pet-friendly policies easy
Some companies opting for pet-friendly workplaces choose to limit the number of dogs on site at one time. This can be an easy way to ensure the office doesn’t end up feeling more like the dog park than a place of work.
"We heard from many employees that they wanted to come back to the office, but they were worried about leaving their dogs behind. We built our Desk Booking solution in a flexible way to support this use case so employees can 'book a desk' for their dog.
"With this, teams know how many dogs are coming into the office and admins can easily manage their office pet policy. In the coming months we plan to enhance this even further to support teams bringing pets to the office."
- Camille Merritt, Eden’s VP of Workplace Software
How desk booking makes it easier to have a pet-friendly office policy
- Consider setting up a dedicated number of desks as “pet friendly,” to limit the number of dogs onsite each day.
- Designate a specific area as the “dog zone,” so that employees who want to bring their dogs to work can work alongside other employees with dogs, or those who enjoy working near four-legged friends
- Clearly define which working areas of your office are dog friendly and which aren’t; if there are members of your team who are concerned about distractions or have pet allergies, having dedicated dog-free areas will likely be appreciated
Pets can make work a more enjoyable place—and make it easier for employees to come into the office for work
With the right planning and policies, having pets around the office can boost the employee experience and lessen pet-owner anxiety.
Be sure to have a detailed pet policy in place, and consider desk-booking software to ensure the workplace remains a comfortable, productive place for all employees.