Dogs at the Office? 5 Ways to Manage Furry Friends at Work
NEW YORK ( MainStreet) As corporate culture has become more relaxed, many businesses especially startups now allow employees to bring their pets into the office. These days it's not uncommon to see a dog roaming free under people's desks, through conference rooms or enjoying a snack in the kitchen. While this more casual office environment can make work feel a little more like home, pets aren't always a welcome sight during important meetings or for people who don't like dogs. If you've got dogs or are thinking of allowing dogs at your business, here are five ways pet-friendly businesses are keeping everyone happy.
1. Section off areas for them.
If you have a business, there will always be people who come in who don't like dogs, says Zach Schau, cofounder of Pure Fix Cycles , a company that makes fixed-gear bicycles in Burbank, Calif.
"There will be people who come in who just aren't dog people," Schau says. "We can tell when people are squeamish around dogs just by their body language, so we shut the door or move the dog into another room."
Dogs are never allowed in the front room of the business because that's where the company's support staff takes calls from customers. Schau says no one wants to hear loud barking over the phone while they're trying to get help.
"It's not great for customers to hear this excited dog while our support team is like, 'Can I have your order number?'" he says. "There are times when you have to close the door."
Even though shutting the door may sound simple enough, many startups have open floor plans or loft spaces without any real partitions. At Pura Vida , a company that sells handmade bracelets from Costa Rica, CEO Griffin Thall says that sometimes you have to consider what's on the agenda at work that day before you bring a dog.
"If there was a big meeting that required working on our investments or sitting down with our accountants, the dog probably wouldn't be there," he says.
2. More dogs does not equal more fun.
Even though everyone in the office loves dogs, Schau says that if everyone brought their dog to work, it would be too crazy to get anything done.
"At one point we had three or four dogs in the office, and they began barking constantly and fighting over toys, and we just couldn't work like that," he says. "Right now we only have one, sometimes two, and that works really well."
At tech startup Lettuce, CEO Raad Mobrem says that two dogs seems to be the "sweet spot" for his office.