Pet-friendly Coworking Spaces (Pros, Cons & Concerns)
If you are thinking whether it's a good idea to make your coworking a pet-friendly space, read this article. Learn the major benefits and challenges of this decision and take it wisely.
Do you know how many of your members have pets? I bet the percentage is 70 or even more. If you ask a dog owner how they feel about leaving the pup alone, most likely you'll hear something like that:
"I feel really bad about leaving Spot at home all day all alone. But I can't find a good dog-sitter. I wish I could bring my buddy with me to work."
Many offices and workspaces change their "no pets allowed" policy nowadays and you can be one of those forward-thinking hubs.
You know, a pet-friendly coworking space is a significant perk for members. Instead of leaving their furry friends home, residents can bring their dogs to work and let them become part of the community.
Indeed, dog-friendly coworking spaces are not for everyone. Some people prefer not to be around dogs. Some dogs are too active to lay at their owner's feet while they work.
Your clientele may reduce a bit when you hang the sign "a dog-friendly space". However, it's not an issue for most of the pet-friendly coworkings as the number of people it helps retain outweighs any negative impact.
Having dogs as four-paws members of your coworking community can beсome a real pleasure. Here are main pros of the experience:
- Feel at ease. Modern people feel more comfortable with online chats than small talks face-to-face. Coming to the coworking space with a pet lets to avoid the awkward moments of polite mini conversations about the weather and other insignificant stuff. Dogs help people feel free and approachable.
- Boost creativity. Pet owners believe that staying in the company of their pets facilitates better creativity flow. This happens because taking care of the dog fills your life with new sense, implies responsibility, which keeps mind sharp and active. The best thing about creative energy is that it can be shared with people within the same space. It's safe to say that pets inspire creativity.
- Efficient anti-stress and anxiety relieve. Being a freelance entrepreneur gives you the freedom and flexibility unreachable when you work at the office nine to six. Though, being your own boss with all the self-organization often causes stress and anxiety. Pet owners have their backs covered here. All they need to calm down, regulate their heartbeat and blood pressure is petting a dog.
- Productivity increase. This is a controversial point. Dogs always want attention, so they distract us from work. Yet, at the same time short breaks to walk the dog, play with it, and pet it during the day make us more productive as our brain gets a few minutes to recharge. During this short activities you free your back and legs from stress as well.
Running a dog-friendly coworking doesn't mean that you should turn your space into mess with dogs running everywhere. Here are some basic rules that will help to keep things organized.
- Aggressive dogs are not allowed. The dog must be social and get along well with other dogs and members.
- Smelly, poorly groomed dogs are a no-go. The dogs must know how to use the pot and be clean.
- The dogs are not allowed to bark in the coworking space. It's difficult to focus on work with barking dogs around and coworking is a workspace in first turn.
- Members can't leave their dogs unattended, they can't let their dog ramble around the space freely. Members must have their dogs with them all the time, wherever they go.
- Dog-friendly coworking spaces are for everyone, so some members may be afraid of the dogs. You must ensure that everyone in your space is safe. If not in the private office, all dogs must be on leash all the time when you are having members who are afraid of the dogs inside.
- Prepare water bowls for dogs. Most of dog owners bring their own bowls but when you have a bowl in the space, you show that it’s a dog-friendly environment that cares about resident pups keeping them hydrated.
- A dog-friendly coworking space requires additional cleaning. Members must clean up after their dog.
- Buy a no-marking spray because if an area is marked by accident even a well trained dog will mark on it again. If some additional cleaning is needed, charge the member for cleaning crew services.
- Buy doggy treats and keep them at the front desk. Show members that their furry buddies are also welcome at your space.
- Make up dog policies and print them out. When new member arrives, you can quickly walk them through the list in terms of the onboarding experience. Pet friendly coworking spaces need to make expectations easy to understand, remember, and follow. Those guides will help you make your flexible office space cozy and membership-driven.
A dog friendly coworking space can go further than offering high-speed internet and desks.
Here is a list of facilities your members will be happy about:
- private offices;
- phone booths;
- quiet rooms;
- conference rooms;
- open coworking (open area with couches, TV, and hot desks);
- indoor and outdoor spaces for dogs to play in;
- staff to monitor the dogs;
- on-site grooming (cutting, nails trimming, baths, blowouts, brushing);
- daycare (when members need to leave the dog.)
Daycare may become a peculiarity of your coworking space and a secret marketing strategy at the same time. You can provide daycare as a separate service. Customers will get more familiar with your space, see that their dogs like the facilities, and one day they’ll come to use the coworking. This is your chance to convert daycare clients into coworking members.
Side note: A good coworking space management software will help you run your pet-friendly zone more efficiently. Collect information about members and their pets, provide comfy meeting room booking, notify members about events they can participate in with their dogs (e.g. fun charity runs), inform about benefits (e.g. discounts on dog grooming services, food), etc.
Knowing your target audience is crucial for business revenue. So does the demography of a dog-friendly coworking space differ from the one of regular enterprise? Not really. Usually coworking community includes digital creatives, freelancers, remote workers, independent entrepreneurs, a mix of everyone.
If you want to launch a coworking for dog owner, it is likely to attract entrepreneurs running pet related projects. It's so natural to work on a dog project in the dog-friendly workspace.
What is your biggest concern that stops you from announcing that dogs are welcome in your space together with their owners? Do you think it will be too noisy? Fair enough.
When you don't separate spaces, there will be noise. But people who come with their dogs anticipate something like that.
If your place is nice people that are turned off at the beginning, later fall in love with it. You don't mind small inconveniences (especially the expected ones) if everything else is great.
Would you like to go on virtual tour and visit some of the popular dog-friendly coworkings? I featured a few right below.
Kleverdog coworking is located in Los Angeles. The space provides a professional workspace with WiFi, coffee, and a dedicated spot to get your work done. But more than that, it’s a place where entrepreneurship is fostered, where a casual conversation in the kitchen leads to a perfect collaboration, and where working in solitude is replaced with community.
It’s in their name and the hub certainly welcomes your furry friends. Just follow a few pet policies in place introduced to keep everyone happy.
Common Ground Malaysia recently launched a pet-friendly space. The 22,000 square feet Jaya One venue still boasts all of the Common Ground signature branding, design, and setup that spans across all their venues. This venue is designed to have 2 floors, with the ground floor being pet-friendly and the first floor being pet-free, so it’s still a viable working space for those who don’t like pets.
Pet-friendly features include dog toilets and a “puppy parking” built indoors where owners can keep their dogs safely whenever they’re busy.
Work & Woof is Austin's first indoor/outdoor dog park and coworking space. It is all about the dogs at Work & Woof, their motto is "You work, they play!".
They offer amenities of a traditional coworking space with the convenience of having your dog under the same roof. Dogs play in a supervised indoor/outdoor park or members can have them at their desk. Work & Woof have 10,000 sq ft of space for you to enjoy with your pup.
The space provides cage and kennel-free daycare. They strive to be Austin's #1 destination for dogs and their owners.
The Roller is a popular pet-friendly coworking space located in Sydney. The mid-century warehouse building that hosts it, is an attraction itself. The workspace is a perfect fit for artists, creatives, and photographers as there is a photo studio among its amenities. Creative personalities will be inspired by the Roller's picturesque settings and nice music playing in the background.
Besides, the center can boast an active community and well-equipped facilities, such as air conditioning, meeting rooms, a printer, showers, directory signage, a business mailing address, and others.
The Farm is located in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City and also welcomes members together with their pets. The hub has an interesting history, it was reconstructed from a century-old barn. The barn was carefully transported piece-by-piece to New York City.
Today, the Farm is a second home to a community of innovators and entrepreneurs. Everything inside and out was built by hand and crafted with a love for nature and organic design. Workspace managers believe that work doesn’t have to feel like work, so all their spaces are infused with the energy of the community who has come to stay there.
If you like dogs and believe that the future belongs to niche-specific coworking spaces (female only, rural spaces), launching a pet-friendly enterprise may become your USP (unique sales proposition). As you see, there are several options for you to choose from.
- Coworking having a few dog-friendly days a week.
- Space welcoming members coming with pets all the time.
- Dog-focused coworking space.
The last variant is a kind of dog owners' dream. It allows not only bring the pup to work and check if it's chewing something every now and again while it is at the owner's feet but helping entrepreneurs stay productive and know that their dog is outside having fun. You can help dog owners preserve their peace of mind ensuring their pet is fine and safe, outside, in a fenced-in area with people watching it. In addition to knowing the dog is safe, members realize that after day-time activities it will be exhausted when they get home, which is really good for pup's health.
Need more tips on how to make your flexible workspace unique? Check out this article: What Makes Your Coworking Space Different? How to Choose Positioning Word.