I wish I could work at Petplan USA, the pet insurance company based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Why? They’re pet-friendly! That’s 24/7 pet-friendly not once-a-year-we-allow-pets-to-come-to-work-friendly.
This progressive workplace allows pet parents to bring their animals to work, creating an environment that is productive and happy. A clear majority of workers surveyed by American Pet Products Manufacturers Association felt that having pets in the workplace leads to a more creative environment, lessened absenteeism and improved the relationship between managers and employees.
Workers who are allowed to bring their pets to work are more likely to work longer hours because they aren’t worried about getting home to their animals. (And let’s face it – America has a culture of working some really long hours – many New Zealand employers are heading in this direction).
Why go pet-friendly? ‘Encouraging our employees to bring their pets to work helps to foster a uniquely creative work environment,’ says Natasha Ashton, Co-Founder of Petplan. ‘Happy employees are productive employees and this ‘perk’ certainly has given us a distinct advantage in attracting new talent. So many prospective employees place a real premium on being able to bring their pets to work as it provides more quality time with their beloved companions and reduces care costs such as dog walkers or pet sitters. Most importantly though, we have found that sharing our office with our pets serves to reaffirm our strong commitment to the good health of pets – both our own and our policyholders’ pets.’
Solid policy is needed if a workplace is deciding to go pet-friendly. Petplan’s Pets at Work pledge includes the following points:
Healthy Paws. All pets must be current on their vaccinations and receive monthly flea and tick treatment.
Manners Please. Pets must be socialized and well-behaved. Aggressive behavior towards people or other pets will not be tolerated and any pet exhibiting such behavior will be asked to leave.
Port a Potty. Dogs must be housebroken and cats should use the litter tray in the mail room. In the event of an accident any damage is the responsibility of the pet parent. If a permanent stain results then said pet parent will be responsible for the cost of hiring professional cleaners to remove the stain. Three accidents and you’re out.
Off Limits. Other people’s food, the front conference room and any communal building areas outside of the Petplan offices are off limits to all four legged workers. If you need to walk your dog please always make sure that they are leashed and that you use the back door to the building and clean up any mess.
Going Solo. Pets are to be supervised at all times. If you know that you are going to be absent from the office for a period longer than 30 minutes then do not bring your pet in on that day.
Chow Hounds. Pets are not to be fed in the offices (that includes pet food and pet treats as well as human food). A water bowl is always readily available in the kitchen.
Puppy Love. Because not all pets get along with each other, as a consideration to fellow team members please send an email out to Internal Workforce the day before bringing your pet(s) into the office, if your pet(s)are selective in who they consider their friend(s).
In the Doghouse. Destructive behavior will not be tolerated. If a pet willfully causes any damage to property within Petplan then they will be asked to leave the office and their owner will be liable for any costs associated with repairs.
Following the above rules will ensure that coming into Petplan every day really is a dog’s life, whether you are a dog, a cat, or even a human.