Working like a dog this tax season? Why not work... with your dog?

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It's tax season again and your staff is working like dogs... why not make their lives better by letting their beloved canines accompany them to work on Saturdays? Some firms have gone so far as to institute an open doggy door policy for accountants and staff who are working weekends.

What's in it for the boss?

Studies show that having a pet nearby lowers stress levels, increases camaraderie among the staff, and raises productivity because employees aren't worried about the extra time away from Fifi. It just makes people happy to have their furry BFFs with them (that's kid-speak for best-friends-forever). In general, when employees bring their dogs to work, the impact on the business is positive. Look at it this way: In a tough economy, the open doggy door policy is a no cost reward that could add much to the lives of your hard-working team members. Plus, for those employees who have to pay doggy daycare, it saves money. Woof!

The Charleston, SC office ofDixon Hughes is so committed to achieving species diversity that their offices is laid out in racetrack fashion, to encourage puppies to run endless laps, much to the amusement of older pooches and their two-legged BFFs.

Of course, there must be rules... for example:

  • Vaccinations must be current.
  • Owners are responsible for rapid response "poop patrol."
  • Aggressive dogs are prohibited.
  • Fleas are insectus-non grata.
  • Only well-behaved owners may accompany their dogs to the office.
  • Good personal hygiene required for dog and owner at all times.

Humane Society of the United States
recommends that if you're going to allow dogs, think it through and set appropriate boundaries in order to start off on the right paw.

  • Get buy-in from the top, ahead of time.
  • Seek input from everyone on your team. For example, find out if anyone in the office is allergic to dogs, before you emBARK on such a policy.
  • Make it clear that people come first, so if having dogs on the premises becomes a problem, common sense has to prevail. Be sure that staff members know that dogs are allowed only as long as problems are minimal.
  • Design your rules to minimize distractions and maximize respect for everyone in the office.
  • Make sure everyone knows the rules and expects to follow them.

Look at it this way: If you've ever wished your dog could somehow help defray the cost of his own upkeep as you trudge off to the office and he trudges off to yet another nap, this is one way to put him to work so that he can help bring home the Milk Bone. Woof!

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