The pet-friendly office has been a recent HR trend meant to improve morale and decrease stress. According to Accountancy Daily, 23% of accounting firms in the UK allow pets in the office. With some heralding the pet-friendly office as the way of the future, and others expressing concern and disdain, many firms are carefully weighing the pros and cons of allowing pets in the office and clarifying their pet policies.
The Importance of a Clear Policy
As more accounting firms and CPAs bring pets to the office, it is important for firm leadership to develop a clear policy informed by staff opinions. Leadership may consider surveying staff to better understand their opinions and reservations about allowing pets in the office.
A pet policy should address the following areas:
- Who is allowed to bring pets to the office? Offices should clarify whether it is a privilege reserved for partners or whether employees can bring pets with advanced authorization.
- How will pets be contained? Employees should know explicitly if pets need to be on a leash and what parts of the office are pet-friendly.
- Who bears responsibility in case of an injury or accident? Pets introduce a level of unpredictability and risk to a workplace and policies should address how conflicts will be handled.
- When will pets be allowed in the office? Some accounting firms have opted to allow pets on weekends and during tax season crunch time. Allowing pets in particular circumstances may be an effective way to test whether a pet-friendly office is a good fit.
Research from CV-Library suggests pet-friendly offices are more widely accepted by women than men. The surveys show that men were more likely to be bothered by pets in the office, while women were more likely to find pets comforting. Accounting firms looking to better support women in the workplace may consider implementing a pet-friendly policy.
A pet-friendly office can improve recruiting efforts, making the firm feel more modern and giving prospective employees a favorable impression of the company culture.
That said, pets in the office can also hinder inclusion efforts by marginalizing employees who have allergies or are simply uncomfortable around animals. The allergens, dander, fur, and potential messes that come with pets in the office may necessitate more thorough, more frequent cleaning.
With pet-friendly accounting firms becoming more popular around the world, it’s a good time to clarify pet policies and decide whether furry friends have a place in our offices.