Hybrid work arrangements have made it possible for many people to put their nose to the grindstone right next to their beloved pets. But what happens when it’s time to come back to the office? Employee handbooks set rules, guidelines expectations for your employees—including whether and when pets are welcome in the workplace. Whether you operate a high-rise, a warehouse, or a commercial venue, every business needs a pets in the workplace policy.

What is a pets in the workplace policy?

A pets in the workplace policy outlines the guidelines for bringing animals onto company premises. It balances the potential benefits of pet presence with the need for a safe, productive, and inclusive environment for all employees.

Typically, the policy specifies which types of pets are allowed (e.g., dogs, cats), their required vaccinations and behavior, and designated pet-free zones. It details owner responsibilities like cleaning, supervision, and ensuring no disruptions or allergic reactions. The policy also offers procedures for addressing concerns or incidents involving pets.

By establishing clear expectations and boundaries, a well-crafted pets in the workplace policy can foster a harmonious environment for both pet owners and non-pet owners alike.

Does my company need one?

While many businesses think about pets in the workplace from a culture standpoint, there still needs to be governance involved. If you’re the kind of business that welcomes dogs, cats, and all manner of critters, it’s critical to have a policy in place.

A company might consider implementing a pet policy in the following situations:

  • Employee interest and culture: This policy may be helpful if there is a noticeable interest among employees in having pets in the workplace and if the company desires to foster a pet-friendly culture.
  • Enhancing work-life balance: Organizations may want to promote a positive work-life balance and believe that allowing pets in the workplace could contribute to a more relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere.
  • Attracting and retaining talent: This can enhance the company’s appeal to potential employees and contribute to employee retention by offering a unique and attractive benefit, particularly for people who prioritize a pet-friendly work environment.
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): This may be a part of the company’s CSR initiatives, particularly if supporting pet-friendly policies aligns with the organization’s values and commitment to employee well-being.
  • Client or customer expectations: If the company frequently hosts clients, customers, or visitors, allowing pets in the workplace may align with client expectations or enhance the overall experience.
  • Balancing employee needs: There may be some situations where accommodating pet-friendly policies helps balance the needs and preferences of employees who may face challenges with traditional pet care arrangements.

What should be included?

The reason a pets in the workplace policy is so imperative is because of what’s included in these policies. Written correctly, it will detail very clear standards, rules, and expectations for what types of pets are allowed, under what conditions, by whom, and for how long. It’s a comprehensive guide to responsible pet ownership in the workplace.

The chief components of a pets in the workplace policy generally include:

  • Permission and approval: Clearly state whether pets are allowed in the workplace and specify any approval process or conditions that employees must meet.
  • Types of pets allowed: Define the types of pets that are permitted in the workplace, whether limited to dogs, cats, or other small animals, and specify any restrictions based on size, breed, or species.
  • Behavioral expectations: Establish expectations for the behavior of pets in the workplace, including guidelines on noise levels, cleanliness, and interactions with other pets and employees.
  • Pet owner responsibilities: Outline the responsibilities of pet owners, such as providing proof of vaccinations, ensuring that pets are well-behaved and do not pose a risk to others, and taking steps to prevent accidents or damage.
  • Designated areas: Identify specific areas within the workplace where pets are allowed and whether there are designated pet-free zones to accommodate employees with allergies or those who are uncomfortable around animals.
  • Pet health and safety: Address health and safety considerations, including guidelines for pet hygiene, access to water, and provisions for emergencies or accidents involving pets.
  • Liability and insurance: Clarify liability issues and whether employees are required to have pet insurance to cover potential incidents or injuries related to their pets in the workplace.
  • Visitor and client guidelines: Specify whether clients, customers, or visitors are allowed to bring pets into the workplace and, if so, outline any additional rules or restrictions.
  • Disturbance resolution: Establish procedures for addressing disturbances caused by pets, such as excessive barking or disruptive behavior, and outline the steps that should be taken to resolve such issues.

Create your own pets in the workplace policy with SixFifty

SixFifty’s Employee Handbook Creator can help your organization generate custom, state-specific employee handbooks for all 50 states. Contact us today to learn more about how our tools can help you create your own pets in the workplace policies, so employees can feel confident bringing their four-legged family members into work.