Some Pros and Cons of a Pet Friendly Workplace
We’ve written before on this blog about some of what goes into creating a pet friendly workplace, and while it’s not always easy to set up the means to support having furry friends in the office, for business owners who either have employees who place a high value on time with their companion animals, who themselves have pets or see the potential to do more business by creating a pet friendly atmosphere, it can be worth it provided they have an understanding of the potential cons as well.
Is your entire staff ready for pets, or will this cause divisions? Having an animal in the office may be logistically safe after you spend the time needed to identify potential hazards and remove them, but will it create problems among your employees? Making sure that your staff is on the same page about wanting animals in the office should be done before changing your policy. It may be the case that an employee is allergic to animals or has a fear that could seriously impact their comfort in the work environment, and finding this out after the fact is not pleasant. On the other hand, having an animal in the office can potentially bring your staff closer together and do a lot to combat stress both on the part of pet owners and on the part of your other animal loving employees.
Can you handle the potential distractions of animals in the workplace? If you don’t think that your employees are capable of handling the fact of an animal being in their midst, then allowing them to convince you to implement a pets in the workplace policy is not something you should let happen. You must be confident in the ability of your employees to be accountable both for themselves and for any animals that they bring in before moving forward with a pet policy. If you think that your employees are able to manage their responsibilities as well a their animals, then you may find that they are actually able to remain more focused in the office without the need to worry about pets left at home or in the care of another person.
Are you prepared for the potential liability involved with an animal in the office? Make sure that you understand all of the implications, both work wise and legally, that may be involved with keeping an animal in your workspace. Do your research and consider speaking with a lawyer to make sure that you know exactly what you might be getting into in terms of your personal and business liability should an accident occur, or health concerns arise. Simply because you don’t think there will be a problem, that does not mean that you can’t find yourself confronted with a legal issue you didn’t see coming if you don’t look before you leap.
Photo Credit to Carson Ting on Flickr