DOGS IN THE WORKPLACE

07th June 2018

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Ravi Bhatnagar, Anabas Account Director, who leads the FM team at Sea Containers for Ogilvy UK, shares his experience on managing a dog friendly office

In this day and age, wellness and productivity are at the top of the workplace agenda. Ensuring your staff are happy has never been more important. Ogilvy UK, based at the Sea Containers building on the South Bank in London is a key client of corporate office specialists, Anabas. Like Anabas, the global advertising and marketing agency supports a dog friendly culture which stems from one of its senior executive’s recognition and experience of the benefits of bringing their dog into work.

As the business welcomes almost 40 dogs a day to join their owners at work, the Anabas team who are permanently based on-site, wanted to ensure a best practice policy was in place. Engaging with both dog lovers and non-dog lovers to determine what could be done, they introduced a dog registration policy for all dogs coming into the building, as well as setting some important house rules.

Everybody Benefits

In recent years, more and more businesses have found out that it pays to be dog-friendly. Evidence suggests having an office dog is beneficial in many ways and it’s not just the dog owner but their colleagues and the business that benefits too — dogs in the work place have been shown to:

  • Help employees relax;
  • Boost staff morale;
  • Reduce heart rate;
  • Lower blood pressure;
  • Reduce absenteeism;
  • Help employees deal with stress;
  • Reduce anxiety related illnesses;
  • Help employees collaborate more effectively by acting as social catalysts;
  • Be a cost-effective benefit for staff acquisition;
  • Get people moving which is good for both physical and mental health; and
  • Aid staff retention as it is seen as a perk.

However a cautionary tale – not everyone is a dog lover and some may even be allergic to our four legged friends and so house rules have been created and are stringently followed to ensure that all staff and visitors to O&M are made to feel comfortable and at ease at all times.

REGISTRATION POLICY

Like any policy it’s important to set guidelines to follow. For health and safety it’s vital to note everyone who enters the building from staff to visitors and it’s just the same for any canine guests at O&M. To ensure the upmost safety the following registration steps were put in place;

  • Pre-registering

Staff members are encouraged to email reception and complete a pet registration form before bringing their four legged friends into the office.

  • ID and recognition

The dog owner is asked to supply a passport style picture of their pooch along with details of their name, their dog’s name and the dog’s breed. Owners are also asked to provide details of what floor they work on and give the name of their manager so that any issues can be addressed and resolved swiftly.

Having registered their dog, owners receive an introductory welcome pack which contains a dog collar, dog treats, tags and poop bags!

  • Security pass creation

The Anabas security team prepares a pass for the dog allowing them to be welcomed each day with their owner.

  • Emergency evacuation

In the event of an emergency, owners are informed that dogs should remain with them at all times and reminded where the assembly points are. Smaller dogs should also be carried down the stairs to avoid any mishaps under foot.

HOUSE RULES

Finally no new policy should be introduced without establishing a set of rules.

  • Dogs must remain on the lead

Whilst for many, a dog is a man’s best friend… However, not everyone shares this sentiment and it’s vital for everyone’s comfort that canine friends remain close to their owners at all times. This is also important when traveling in lifts and in extra busy areas.

  • If they poop – you scoop

Owners are responsible for their dogs at all times. In the interest of hygiene, if any doggy friends have an accident in the building it is the owner’s responsibility to clean it up and to inform the FM team so that the area can be sanitised thoroughly.  If this happens a second time then the dog will not be allowed to return to the office.

  • One strike and they’re out

As with two legged staff members, aggressive behavior will not be tolerated. We have a zero tolerance policy and so any incidents will result in eviction. Nuisance behavior is also not welcome and in the event of constant barking, owners will be asked to remove their dogs from the building.

  • Designated areas

Whilst dogs are a welcome sight in the office, there are certain areas where they are prohibited from entering. These include any food prep or catering spaces and Seacontainers event spaces are also off limits.

FINAL THOUGHT

With so many benefits to having a dog friendly office, businesses would be barking mad to not adopt a dog friendly culture! From an FM perspective, putting in place a policy with a few guidelines or rules will help to make the transition smoother and can always be adapted if you find more and more staff are bringing their dogs to work.


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