Dogs in the workplace can be a positive experience for many but rules are necessary to maintain happy human and canine relationships, explains Ravi Bhatnagar.
04 June 2018 | Ravi Bhatnagar
Welcoming dogs into the workplace can be a positive experience for many, but rules are necessary to maintain happy human and canine relationships. Ravi Bhatnagar explains how to get this right
Wellness and productivity top the workplace agenda and making sure that your staff are happy has never been more important. Ogilvy & Mather (O&M), based at the Sea Containers building on the South Bank in London, is a key client of corporate office specialist Anabas.
Like Anabas, O&M supports
a dog-friendly culture that stems from the benefits experienced by one of its senior executives of bringing his dog to work. It welcomes about 40 dogs a day to join their owners.
Having a dog-friendly office is not only beneficial for the dog's owner but their colleagues and business too .
However, not everyone is a dog lover and some may even be allergic to our four-legged friends, so we wanted to ensure that a best practice policy was in place.
The team introduced a dog-registration policy for all dogs coming into the building, and set important house rules.
For health and safety, it's vital to note everyone who enters the building, from staff to visitors, and it's just the same for canine guests. These are our registration steps:
Pre-registering: Staff members are encouraged
to email reception and complete a pet registration form before bringing their dogs into the office.
ID and recognition: The dog owner supplies a passport picture of their pooch, which includes their name, their dog's name and breed, and information on which floor they work on and their manager's name. Once registered, owners receive a welcome pack with a dog collar, dog treats, tags and poop bags.
Security pass creation: The security team prepares a pass for the dog.
Emergency evacuation preparation: Dogs should remain with owners at all times and smaller dogs should also be carried down the stairs.
Dogs must stay on leads: It's vital for everyone's comfort that canine friends remain close to their owners at all times. This is also important when travelling in lifts and busy areas.
If they poop, you scoop: In the interest of hygiene, if any doggy friends have an accident in the building it is the owner's responsibility to clean it up and to inform the FM team so that the area can be thoroughly sanitised. If this happens a second time then the dog will not be allowed to return to the office.
One strike and they're out: As with two-legged staff members, aggressive behaviour will not be tolerated. Any incidents will result in eviction. Nuisance behaviour is also not welcome and in the event of constant barking, owners will be asked to remove their dogs from the building.
Designated areas: Dogs are prohibited from entering food prep or catering spaces as well as Sea Containers event spaces.
With so many benefits to having a dog-friendly office, businesses would be barking mad to not adopt such a culture.
From an FM perspective, putting in place a policy with a few guidelines will help to make the transition smoother and it can always be adapted if you find more and more staff are bringing in their dogs.
Bringing dogs to work can:
Help employees to relax
Boost staff morale
Reduce heart rate
Lower blood pressure
Help employees to deal with stress
Reduce anxiety-related illnesses
Help employees collaborate more effectively by acting as social catalysts
Be a cost-effective benefit for staff acquisition
Get people moving, which is good for physical and mental health
Aid staff retention as it is seen as a perk
Ravi Bhatnagar, an Anabas account director, leads the FM team at Sea Containers for Ogilvy & Mather