By Jennifer Jacobus, PHR-CA, SDEA
Get the kibble and pee pads ready, today is Take Your Dog to Work Day! This is a thing, really! When searched on the Internet, results showed up on Wikipedia, and Take Your Dog to Work Day even has its own Facebook page (check it out if you want to kill some time looking at cute pups).
Stating the obvious, this will sound like a fabulous idea to pet lovers and like a nightmare to non-pet lovers. How should this conflict be dealt with from a business perspective? What if you are approached by an employee with the desire to have your company participate? Here are some things to consider:
- Building codes – if the company doesn’t own the building it occupies, special permission to bring pets in might be needed from your landlord. Check your lease. Don’t make assumptions or think you will fly under the radar – this may mean employees have to leave during the day to take their pets home.
- Liability issues – while a dog owner is ultimately responsible and liable for any damages caused by their pets, employers would be wise to check in with their insurance companies and liability policies. Dogs that aren’t socialized, that don’t get along with other dogs, or that are aggressive should not participate in this event.
- The human factor – if employees share that they have an allergy or a fear of dogs, it cannot be ignored. This is a one-day celebration – accommodation can probably be made to make the day fun for everyone. Is there a segregated area for the dogs? Will there be enough distance between them and the concerned employees? Take legitimate concerns seriously.
Other than providing a good excuse to bring your furry friend to work with you, this event can provide some perks to employees. It’s a low- to no-cost perk – employees love their pets, and showing them off at work will be a fun change of pace for your workforce. This is also a good opportunity to support a local shelter or highlight pet adoptions. The wise employer may even be able to get some local media attention out of the event.
There are other options for those employees whose employers won’t participate or who can’t participate. Hosting doggy photo contests, putting on fundraisers for shelters, and bringing pet professionals out to speak to your employees on health or grooming can all take the place of employees actually bringing pets to work.
If you are considering participating in Take Your Dog to Work Day in the future, plan ahead. Set guidelines, such as areas where the dogs will be allowed. Will there be any special events – people love to dress up their dogs! Maybe a fashion show or some sort of contest (amazing pet tricks, anyone)?
SDEA has a “Pet Friendly” policy for those companies that may consider hosting a Take Your Dog to Work day next year, or who have other pet-friendly days (let’s not leave out our cats!), or even a general everyday policy allowing pets at work. Check out the Resources menu on our website or call us at (858) 505-0024.
If you missed this year’s event, mark your calendars for next year – this day always falls on the Friday after Father’s Day.