HR BLOG: Paws for thought – should we allow pets at work?

The benefits of allowing staff to bring their pets to work is well documented and proven.

As long as no one is allergic to them and the pets (usually dogs, but not always) are safe and well behaved, everyone gains. It could even be a deciding factor in staff retention — after all, who wouldn’t want their best friend sat next to them at work?

One area that’s often overlooked, is how do these pets get to work? Great if the employee lives a walkable distance from the office, but what about those travelling from further afield? And what happens during the day if their owners need to travel to appointments, particularly in company vehicles?

Clunk, click every trip?

On a sunny day we have probably all smiled at the cute dog with its head stuck out of the car window enjoying the breeze, but no one would dream of driving with an unsecured child — because it’s dangerous and illegal. However when it comes to pets, only 44% of motorists say they take proper precautions and restrain their pets correctly.

It’s easy to forget that a pet moving around the vehicle or barking, can be a huge distraction. And if the driver breaks suddenly, they would be hurled like a missile and possibly seriously injured.

Protect yourself and your pets

The Highway Code states: “When in a vehicle make sure dogs and other animals are suitably restrained so they cannot distract you while you are driving or injure you or themselves if you stop quickly”.

Although breaking the Highway Code in itself does not carry a fine, you can be pulled over for driving without due care and attention, an offence which can result in a maximum fine of £2,500 and nine penalty points. But perhaps even worse, if you’re involved in an accident, it could invalidate your insurance.

So the company “bring your pet to work” policy needs to go further than looking at the office, the types of pets allowed (we might be tempted to pull a sickie if we had to share our work space with a snake!) and team agreement — it should also extend to travel. If you need help putting this into practice, do call The HR Dept. As well as preventing people problems, we also prevent pet problems!

Alison Schreiber runs The HR Dept Durham and Darlington franchise, and works with a number of businesses across PBP. For more info, visit HR Dept Durham and Darlington or call Alison on 01325 526036 or 07535 853226.