At a pet technology company like Whistle, the in-office pet policy sort of writes itself: yes, dogs welcome.
Jokes aside, more companies are adopting pet-friendly policies to attract talent and boost the overall morale of their teams. A recent survey by Banfield Pet Hospital revealed that 85% of employees working in pet-friendly offices found these policies promoted a greater work-life balance. But, having a mix of pets and people in a single office together means things can get pretty...hairy. (Ok, now all jokes aside.)
We did a little unofficial research here in our San Francisco office and identified five personalities you're likely to find in a pet-friendly office. We went a step further to share some of our advice on how to set each pet up for success.
Personality type: The Stage-Five Clinger
This pet is typically two steps away from their human, and camps out by the bathroom or conference room door when they can't be right at their feet. Their loyalty is unwavering and makes aspiring pet owners swoon.
Encourage all pet owners to keep their pets near them at their desks and bring them to meetings when possible to alleviate anxiety levels and related behavioral issues (like barking or chewing). When pets must be separated from their humans, use the buddy system to have a colleague keep an eye on them until you're back in the office.
Personality type: The Mooch
You gonna finish that? He will. This pooch circles the lunch table like a shark and hoovers up anything that hits the floor in seconds flat. When snacks come out, this dog follows their nose to the source.
Agree on a no-begging policy across the board. At Whistle, everyone knows to check with the pet's owner before giving an office dog a bite to eat. Pet nutrition is a big piece of their health and food aggression can be very serious, so it's important to nip potential issues in the bud as soon as possible.
Personality type: The Class Clown
This dopey pup is reliable for a quick laugh. Expert level derp faces and comedic timing with a delayed bark or even the occasional inappropriate burp ease any moments of tension.
This personality reminds everyone that dogs will be dogs - and with that comes the occasional accident as well as the need for regular walk breaks. We keep plenty of biodegradable poo bags at the ready, as well as a thorough spot-cleaner nearby, like Nature's Secret Weapon.
Personality type: The Imposter
This dog thinks they're human and will go to great lengths to prove it to you. You may find them watching TV, sitting in a desk chair, or leaning in to inspect whatever the 'other humans' are looking into.
Have a few tools handy to help keep the office fresh, even after the dogs make themselves comfortable on the couches or elsewhere. We keep the Dyson V6 Top Dog vacuum - pun intended- in the office along with the Dyson Pure Hot+Cool Link air purifier and fan to tackle the excess fur, dander, and allergens that come along with having so many four-legged colleagues.
Personality type: The Teacher's Pet
This dog knows every trick and will pull out all the stops to impress you. If you've got a treat in your hand, they'll do whatever it takes - even sit still long enough for a photo.
Encourage great behavior and make training resources available to all employees bringing pets into the office. At Whistle, pets are our business and we work to ensure that it's a safe place for all. Everything from local trainers or online programs like Clicker Training can help keep the pack under (relative) control.
In my somewhat biased opinion, there are very few downsides to having pets in the office. Our team loves the personalities and furry faces that remind us of our mission each day. We've also seen great relationships forged over mid-day dog walks between team members who work on otherwise completely separate teams.
Whether bringing down stress levels, increasing camaraderie, or simply reminding us to laugh at ourselves every once in awhile, we are happy to go on the record saying: office dogs are the best.