Part of making your office pet friendly is ensuring that pet parents understand where pets can and cannot go, and what guidelines need to be followed. This starts with a clear pet policy, but onsite signage is another important component. You will also want signs to alert visitors arriving at your site that pets may be inside. Here are tips to help you plan.
- You’ll want to have signage that explains where pets are allowed within your workplace and where they aren’t.
- Consider an icon system that makes it easy to see at a glance where pets can go — for example a green pawprint for “pets welcome” and a red pawprint for “no pets here.”
- Communicating clearly why pets aren’t allowed in certain spaces helps ensure people respect the rules. For example, indicate if local health codes restrict pets in places where food is served or if certain areas are restricted for pet safety.
Getting to Know the Pets
- Provide a template for employees to post a sign at their workspace about their pet. Include a spot for name, basic information and preferences (e.g., “I love to cuddle!” or “Please give me my special treats.”). Adding a photo helps make sure everyone knows who belongs to whom.
- Consider a leash system to help pet parents communicate about their interaction preferences. For example, a green leash means “come play with me.” A yellow leash means “ask my pet parent first.”
Sample Workplace Guidelines
Signage with pet guidelines helps explain expectations while on the premises. Writing them in the voice of a pet can make them memorable. For example:
- Gimme space! Make sure I hang out where I won’t be underfoot for others.
- Be sure you have fresh water, food and toys to give me the nourishment and stimulation I need throughout the day.
- When I gotta go, I gotta go. Help me anticipate when I need to go out for a break. And if it happens…sorry…but be sure to clean it up please.
- Keep me leashed or enclosed to help protect me and keep me out of pet-free areas.
- Achoo! If I’m making a co-worker sneeze, make a plan together that will work for all of us.
- If I get over-excited or anxious, help me manage my emotions by taking me outside or home if I need to calm down.
- Don’t leave me! (Never leave pets unattended.)
- You’re the boss! Keep in mind that you’re in charge. I try to be good… but you’re ultimately responsible for me and my actions.
Sample Pet Tips
Signage with tips can help reinforce responsible pet ownership and encourage a positive experience for all. Here again, using the voice of the pet can make tips stand out.
- Manners Matter! Be a responsible pet owner and make sure I’m well-trained so I know what to expect from you and am a pleasure, not a problem.
- No Nibbling. Don’t let me chew on cords or other items that could be harmful. Give me a chew toy instead!
- Keep Me Safe. Use a leash, gate or crate to keep me secure while I’m here with you at work.
- Take a Break. If you’re thirsty, I probably am too. Remember to get me fresh water throughout the day.
- Ask First. Always ask before touching a pet you don’t know well. My owner knows the best way to approach me!
- Banish Boredom. Sometimes I get bored and act out. Stop periodically to play with me for a few minutes. It’s a good break for both of us!
- Don’t Leave Me. Never leave pets unattended at work or in any public space. Always have a plan to keep us safe.
- Let’s Walk. A short walk can refresh and energize. And I’ll enjoy it too! Walking together helps people and pets.
- Make sure you also alert guests and visitors before they enter that you have a pet-friendly workplace.
- Include information about pets in your emergency procedures and signage.
- Post information on the nearest veterinary hospital in an easily accessible spot in case of immediate needs or questions.
- Provide maps or other wayfinding resources to the nearest pet relief areas and pet-friendly green spaces.
Want more tips? Check out the PETS WORK AT WORK™ Toolkit for info about how to start and maintain a successful pet-friendly workplace program.