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How to Create a Dog-Friendly Coworking Space
A dog-friendly coworking space can be a big perk for members. Rather than leaving their furry friends home alone all day, members can bring their dogs to work with them and let them become part of the coworking community.
The benefit of having dogs in a space extends to the other members, as well. Multiple studies have found that dogs can boost our happiness and help reduce stress.
All of the Satellite Workspace locations are dog-friendly and several of them even have an office dog that’s in the space every day. Satellite Workspace manager, Jessica Kearney, and Satellite IT manager, Jay Smith, bring their dog, Ender, to the Santa Monica Satellite every day.
Ender is a beloved part of the Santa Monica Satellite community. Kearney has had people turn down free memberships in another coworking space to continue working in the same space as Ender.
Kearney shared her best tips for creating a dog-friendly coworking space that works for everyone.
9 Guidelines for Creating a Dog-friendly Coworking Space
A dog-friendly coworking space can’t be a free-for-all with dogs running everywhere. Coworking space operators need to set clear expectations with dog owners. Here are some basic guidelines:
1. The dog has to get along with other dogs and people: No one wants an aggressive dog in a coworking space.
2. The dog must be clean and potty trained: This one speaks for itself. Smelly, messy dogs are a no-go.
3. No barking in the coworking space: For a member trying to concentrate, in a meeting with a client, or on an important call, the sound of a dog barking in the background is definitely not going to work.
4. Dogs can’t be left in the space unattended: Dogs are expected to be with their owners—not allowed to roam freely in the space, and not left in the space while the owner is off-site. As Kearney says, “In most instances it’s best for members to always have their dog with them.”
5. Make sure everyone feels safe: Some people are afraid of dogs. Avoid putting anyone in an uncomfortable situation. If you have members who are afraid of dogs, require that dogs in the coworking space are on-leash at all times, unless they’re in a private office.
6. Provide water bowls for dogs: Members will likely bring their own bowls, but having a bowl in the space signals that it’s a dog-friendly environment and helps keep the resident pups hydrated.
7. Require members to clean up after their dog: If an area is marked, it’s more likely that even a well trained dog will mark on it again. Have a no-marking spray handy, in case of an accident. If the accident requires additional cleaning by the cleaning crew, the member is charged accordingly.
8. Provide doggy treats: Suzi Downie, the community manager of Satellite Los Gatos, keeps doggy treats at the front desk. “When a dog does arrive,” she says, “they are made to feel welcome.”
9. Put it in Writing: Be sure your dog policies are in writing. Go over them with a new member during your new member orientation. When you’re running a comfortable, membership-driven space, it is so important to make expectations clear, concise and understood.
Note: Dog-friendly coworking spaces aren’t for everyone. Some people would just rather not be around dogs. You may limit your clientele by having a dog-friendly space. But, as Kearney explains, it hasn’t been an issue in any of the Satellite locations.
“A dog-friendly space might turn away a small percentage of potential members,” she says, “but the amount of people it helps retain outweighs any negative impact.”
Satellite Deskworks is flexible workspace software designed by space operators to save time and money. Request a free demo.
All photos by Satellite Workspace team members or Satellite Workspace members.