OCT’s Dog-Friendly Office Policy

Background

Happiness: Having pets in the office can boost one of the most in-demand, non-financial office benefits: employee happiness. Work/life balance is valuable among employees, and being able to bring one’s dog to work can help employees feel that they are closer to achieving that balance. The happiness benefit of bringing your pet to work often spreads to other employees, and can have a positive impact on the whole team’s work experience.

Creativity and Productivity: Studies have shown having pets in the office can help make employees more creative and productive by having a calming effect on people’s bodies and minds, reducing blood pressure, and helping people focus better.

Connection and Socialization: A large majority of surveyed employees in dog-friendly offices attribute improved workplace relationships to having dogs in the office.

Willingness to Work: Dogs can make longer hours more bearable and improve employees’ opinions toward working in an office environment. Dog-friendly policies also often lower rates of absenteeism.

General Health Benefits: Dogs are associated with a variety of general health benefits, including decreased blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels. Because dogs require time outside, dog owners often have more opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities which can lead to greater overall health.

Employee Approval Process

As OCT has an open-office and a culture of respect, community, and communication, this policy asks for 100% staff buy-in for the pilot period (one month), and every three months thereafter (via an anonymous poll). At any time during the pilot period or at any time thereafter, any staff member can anonymously submit feedback, escalate issues, request a specific dog not be allowed back to the office, or request an end to the overall policy. Any such requests will be honored, without judgement.

OCT Dog Liaison

The OCT Dog Liaison is Kerry Ryan, ETP Administrative Director, who is also a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA) and Canine Good Citizen Evaluator. The main duties will be temperament testing of potential dogs, maintaining proof of vaccination and pet profiles, polling the staff, managing an anonymous forum for relevant concerns, and managing any issues that may come up. The OCT Dog Liaison reports to the OCT Leadership Team.


Policy for OCT Staff Manual 

Dogs make our lives better in so many ways. At work, they create a fun and happy environment, encourage interactions among people, and get us up for regular exercise breaks.

Dogs are also a responsibility, and the opportunity to have them at our workplace is a privilege all participants must respect. To take part in our dogs-at-work program, OCT employees must agree to honor this workplace pet policy.

Scope

This workplace dog policy applies to full-time employees only. We do not allow visitors or guest artists to bring dogs to our workplace.

This policy applies to the southern part of the building, separate from the classroom and studio area by the double glass doors. Additionally, this policy applies only to the entrance on NE Sandy, and not the entrance on NE 21st. Any no time will dogs be allowed through the glass doors that separate the office in the southern part of the building from the bathrooms, kitchen, studio space, Acting Academy / Young Professionals / Finance office, and communal hallways.

The focus of our policy is dogs. Other pets are not included at this time.

Dog Requirements

To participate, dogs must be:

  • at least six months old

  • spayed or neutered

  • owned and housed by the dog owner for at least two months

  • up-to-date on vaccinations required by state law

  • free of any communicable infections or any parasites such as fleas

  • clean, brushed, and regularly groomed

  • potty-trained

  • well-socialized to people, with no history of biting, excessive barking, chasing, or aggressive behavior

  • covered under their owner’s homeowners/renter’s insurance policy, which must cover dog bites

  • approved by the OCT Dog Liaison

 Dog Owner Responsibilities

To comply with our workplace policy, dog owners who want to bring their pets to work must agree to:

  • Apply for permission to bring their dog to work, using the attached pet application/profile.

  • Submit to a "Dog Interview" by the OCT Dog Liaison to assess the temperament and suitability of the dog prior to the dog becoming a part of the OCT workplace environment, a one-day initial trial, and a 30-day extended trial period. (If the dog displays stressed or undesirable behavior at any time during the trial period, they will not be approved to join the OCT workplace.)

  • Be 100% responsible for their pet’s behavior, well-being, hygiene, and happiness the entire time they are visiting.

  • Be respectful of other employees to ensure everyone can be as successful and productive as possible at work.

  • Avoid using excessive work time to look after their dog. If a dog needs constant care and attention, their owner may be instructed to leave them at home by the OCT Dog Liaison.

  • Manage their workspace to ensure it is “pet-proofed” and safe for their visiting pet.

  • Provide their own pet items to ensure pet safety, such as leashes, tethers, crates, or gates to keep the pet securely in the employee’s work area.

  • Keep their pet with them (securely tethered to their desk and/or contained) and controlled throughout the day, or make arrangements with a colleague to do so if they need to step away.

  • Ensure that their pet’s behavior does not interfere with other employees’ comfort or ability to do their work.

  • Provide their own pet wellness items, such as waste bags, toys, food, and water bowls.

  • Provide adequate bathroom breaks, access to water and food, and exercise throughout the day.

  • Clean up after their pet immediately if any accidents occur.

  • Maintain homeowners/renter’s insurance that covers dog bites.

  • Be legally and financially responsible for any damage caused by their pet.

  • Provide annual proof of vaccination and health for their visiting pets.

  • Keep pets out of pet-free areas.

  • Use alternate pet care away from work on days when the employee would be unable to fully manage the pet at work (e.g. an all-day meeting) or if the pet is ill.

  • Take their pet home at any time if the pet’s behavior or health makes it a distraction, nuisance, or danger to anyone else, or if asked to so by their supervisor.

Managing Issues

Concerns related to the workplace pet policy should be handled in the following way:

  • Talk with the pet owner and work to resolve issues mutually.

  • Escalate the issue to the pet owner’s supervisor.

  • Escalate the issue to the OCT Dog Liaison, either in-person or via the anonymous forum.

Veto Power

OCT Employees are encouraged to resolve issues in-person, whenever possible. If, however, anyone feels that they need to exercise veto power for one dog or for the policy as a whole, they are welcome to do so via the anonymous forum.