Having an office dog is becoming increasingly popular with startups and modern companies alike. It can be a great way to re-energise your employees and keep them productive, as dogs seem to have an uplifting effect on the majority of people. But by allowing a dog in the office, are you opening yourself up to unnecessary risks?
Many dog lovers are eager to promote a dog-friendly work culture. But please also consider that some of your employees may not love dogs as much as you do. Before you bring a dog into the office, or newly establish yourself as a dog-friendly company, ensure that anyone who works for you in the office is comfortable with having a dog be a part of their work environment. Some employees may have an allergy, whereas some may simply not like dogs or even have a fear of them. Some of your employees may even have cultural beliefs that prevent them from coming into contact with dogs. It is important that you respect all your employees’ personal circumstances.
Bear in the mind that the office will need to be “dog-proof” too, ensuring that there is nothing that the dog can chew on, and nothing dangerous that the dog could consume. Dog-proofing the office can prove to be very expensive, whether your office is small or big. It would also be responsible to ensure that any dogs in the office are checked for worms and fleas at every six months.
Perhaps most importantly, if you rent your office space, the landlord of your commercial property may not even allow dogs into the office. So this will be something you’ll have to check with the property owner before proceeding.
But first thing’s first, you’ll have to purchase third party insurance to cover the dog. Most business insurance policies won’t mention, let alone cover, dogs on your policy. However, so long as your dog will not be working at your office (as a security dog or a member of your sales team or whatever!), then insuring your dog with a pet insurance company will be simple enough.
What about employees’ dogs?
More and more companies are now holding a regular “Bring Your Dog To Work” day, or allowing pets in the workplace all year round. Employees tend to be more motivated if their best fur-friend is by their side throughout work hours. Not to mention it offers a unique perk for employees where companies compete for the best talent, attracting those who would otherwise work elsewhere due to the higher salary or extra perks.
But what happens if any employee’s dog causes injury to another of your employees or a member of the public? As the business owner who allowed the dog into the office, you could be held liable for the injury. It would be worth stating in your pets in the workplace policy that any pets brought into the office must be insured by the pet owner, and that they are the one who is legally and financially responsible in the event that the dog causes any damage or injury. Not you.