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Mental Health - The Canine-Colleague Culture Connection

Workplaces across the country are trading their dress code policies for dog friendly policies. As the vast benefits of having a progressive work culture come to light, employers are racing to adopt new policies that will create an amazing employee experience. This also set them apart from stagnant workplaces helping with recruitment and retention, especially of younger employees.

Goal


Adapt your company culture and improve the employee experience by creating a work environment that honors your employee’s personal lifestyles.

What is The Canine-Colleague Culture Connection?
A dog-friendly policy is a document that details the parameters and rules for employees who wish to bring their dog to work with them. It needs to include logistic details and address how the company will manage a complaint and/or damages done by the dog to workplace property.

The policy needs to be reviewed by all existing employees and new recruits. This will ensure that both the employees bring a dog to work and those who are not, know the rules, process, expectations, consequences and complaint process.

A dog-friendly policy is also a recruitment and retention tool which will set your workplace apart from stagnant competitors. This advantage in the labour market, which is experiencing a skills and labour gap, will result in a higher performance by your company as a whole.

How does The Canine-Colleague Culture Connection improve employee engagement and culture?
Employee engagement is directly connected to the employee experience. Therefore, the physical work environment employees spend time in is a key factor in a complete engagement strategy.

People don’t stop being themselves when they walk through the front doors of the office. They bring all their thoughts, emotions and identity from their personal lives with them. If the established work culture ignores large aspects of the employee’s whole-self employee engagement will be undermined. By understanding and honoring the employee as a whole person and adapting the physical work environment around them to better align with their lifestyle, will skyrocket engagement.

What are the benefits?
Reduce work-related stress.
Improve morale.
Increase job satisfaction.
Perk that will attract and retain key talent.
Greater sense of loyalty.
Create unity among staff and opportunities for interaction among departments that might not otherwise have interacted.

How do you implement The Canine-Colleague Culture Connection in the workplace?
Shaping a dog-friendly policy can be done by the HR department, pet committee or an individual employee. Consider these things prior to the first happy dog owner walking through the front door.
Conduct a survey to see how every employee feels about this opportunity. The culture shift only makes sense if it will be a positive one. Consider having dog-free zones to address a handful of nay-sayers.
Get executive buy in.
Create a dog-friendly policy that leaves no room for interpretation on rules and regulations.
Dog-proof before allowing them in the office. This includes incorporating baby gates or tethers and hiding electrical cords.
Notify employees with an orientation to go over the dog-friendly policy.

Action


Create a Dog-Friendly Policy

Scope
Who is allowed to bring a dog into the workplace? Employees, visitors, contractors and consultants?
Which types of pets are permissible? Dogs, cats, fish, other?
Which areas in the workplace the dogs are allowed to be in. (Labs, company vehicles, manufacturing areas)

Application: A form to fill out prior to bringing their dog to work. That includes:
Profile - Name, breed, age, size
Health and vaccinations questions - Neutered / Treated for fleas and ticks / Has standard vaccines / Any overall health problems
Behaviour and training questions - Must be happy around other animals / Must not be hyperactive / House trained / Respond well to verbal commands / Barking level
Signature area accepting responsibility for said dog

Owner’s Responsibilities
Supervision
Clean up after your dog
Fight with other office dogs
Wander in prohibited places
Endanger themselves or others
Damage company or employee property
Annoy coworkers (e.g. barking, climbing on their desks)
Limit work time to look after it (walk on lunch break)

Complaint Process
Talk to the pet’s owner in case they can resolve the problem immediately
Reach out to their supervisor explaining their issues
Consult the HR department, if they don’t get a satisfactory response
File an official complaint

Reference Material
How to Be a Pet-Friendly Employer

Updated on: 08/31/2023

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