Pets are not a new thing, of course, but in the pandemic, a lot of folks who live alone acquired a pet. Now, as they return to the office, they face the prospect of leaving their companions at home. Is this going to be a problem for employers?
Elizabeth Campbell, assistant professor of work and organizations at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, anticipates many employers will consider at least one of the following in order to recruit and maintain talent: Allowing dogs in the office on designated days; more flexibility in work locations and hours; in-office doggy daycare; stipends for pet care and expenses; “paw-ternity” leave (paid leave for individuals adopting a new pet).
For employers interested in welcoming furry officemates, there’s a lot to consider, say Campbell and Lauren Olson, vice president of growth strategy at Minneapolis-based employment agency Avenica, which has had a dog-friendly office since 2017.
Ensure that allowing dogs in the workplaces doesn’t infringe on other employee rights.
- Verify your company has liability insurance covering animals.
- Determine if your office space is conducive to pets; shared spaces will be more challenging than divided spaces.
- Set clear expectations and thoughtful pet policies for in-office dogs and their humans. Avenica, for example, only allows potty-trained dogs with office-appropriate energy levels.
- Accept that not all dogs are cut out to be office dogs, and not all days are good days to bring a dog to the office.