Taking a support animal to work is an exciting new opportunity for employees. However, it can cause some anxiety for business owners who need to balance employee satisfaction with productivity. Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are becoming more accepted in current society. Thankfully, studies have shown that productivity climbs while stress levels drop in offices where employees have their ESAs. So, the inclusion of ESAs in your company’s workspaces is something worthy of consideration.
Feature Image by Fran__ from Pixabay
However, support animals at work can be a challenge. It is important to determine what is appropriate and what isn’t. If you are new at allowing employees to bring their furry friend to the office, here are a few things to consider.
Research And Prepare
First, you need to research what is acceptable and safe for the support animal, the employee, and your customers in a work scenario. For example, a busy, noisy factory or a shop beside a road with lots of traffic may not be the safest kinds of places for an animal companion.
If you are going to allow support animals in the workplace, make sure the ESA is a species employees will be able to control. For a bird or rat, they must provide a safe pen or cage to be while at the employee’s desk. A young, energetic dog, for example, may cause a lot of stress for everyone. Such a distraction may lead to inefficiency in everyone’s work and an unhappy customer.
You must also be educated about legislation that impacts an employee’s need for an ESA at work.
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Communicate With Your Employee
The key to a successful ESA inclusion program is to talk everything through with your employees. They will need to know how things will work, your expectations for handling the ESA if anything goes wrong, and the legalities of having the ESA in the workplace. As the employer, take every opportunity to be your employee’s advocate. Take the time to work out all the details that apply to your particular situation together.
It is possible that the best employee for your context may not be particularly suited for in-office work every day. In fact, many employees may be much more content and productive in their own space. Rather than losing gifted and trained employees to freelancing and online businesses, consider offering a flexible schedule and telecommuting. These strategies can boost your employee’s health, thereby increasing their productivity.
Image by Ales Krivec from Pixabay
Having an ESA in the workplace is a decision not to be made without preparation. You need to consider things from all angles. Invite your employees to join you on the journey toward ESA inclusion. Make sure you have all the facts and know the law. These tips will open the path to employee success with their ESA at their side.
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