Pets in the Office?
Here’s What to Consider in Flooring
By Bill Imhoff
As workers begin returning to the office workplace, making that transition after months of working from home will be an adjustment for many. After all, we’ve become accustomed to working with our beloved four-legged family members by our side.
“Leaving behind your pet who has been your co-worker for the past few months is going to be difficult,” said Ann Nihil in a recent interview with the Society for Human Resource Management. “For many of us, the added comfort of that soft meow or that slobbery lick on the cheek is going to be missed,” said the operations and culture manager at Fracture, a glass-printing company in Alachua, Florida.
To ease the transition and encourage a happier workplace, many companies are implementing pet policies that welcome pets to the workplace if their employees support that perk.
The SHRM recommends that policies “state upfront which (types of pets) are and aren’t allowed in the office, and make sure that employees have a place to walk and feed their pets, as well as a place to leave them during meetings.” In addition, policies should specify that pet vaccinations must be current and that pets must be clean and well-behaved.
If you are considering allowing pets in the office, you’ll also want to be sure your flooring is well suited for them. First and foremost, you’ll need flooring that can withstand moisture (water bowl spills and the occasional potty “oops!”). Flooring needs to be durable to withstand scratches from paw traffic. And it needs to be stain-resistant and easy to clean. Here are some pet-friendly flooring options to consider.
The hard glazed surface of ceramic tile is hard to beat for its impenetrable nature. Urine and stain from doggie accidents not only can’t penetrate the tile, but are quick to clean up with simple soap and water. A quality flooring maintenance contractor should inspect and reseal grout lines every couple of years to ensure they resist stains and moisture.
Many of our commercial clients use carpet tile in their office spaces, which is a good carpeting choice if you are seeking a pet-friendly environment. Stains can be easily removed by simply changing out tiles rather than an entire section of carpet. Most come with long warranties against staining and fading, and some are now even being manufactured with the pad attached for faster installation.
If choosing a pad separately, consider one with vapor protection to prevent moisture from being absorbed into the pad and subfloor.
Low VOC Carpets
Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are no friend to man or beast. The EPA has found that many of these chemicals can cause cancer in animals and people. Most major flooring manufacturers today emphasize products with no or low VOCs. Ask your flooring contractor for recommendations for carpet certified in low VOCs.
Vinyl and Linoleum
Vinyl flooring is called resilient for a reason. Its long-lasting durability and resilience, resistance to moisture, and cost-effectiveness have made it a popular commercial flooring option for years.
Linoleum is the granddaddy of all vinyl flooring products. Its welded seams prevent fluids from penetrating the surface and making their way under the floor. With their ease of maintenance as well, linoleum floors are a great choice in offices accommodating pets.
Luxury vinyl flooring (LVF) is another good pet-friendly option; however, be aware that since it is installed in planks, moisture can seep through. And, because of its thin layer of vinyl, it can be susceptible to gouges. If choosing LVF, look for higher-end wear levels and ask your flooring design consultant about LVF products that are now offered with a waterproof core, floating click systems, and free-lay products that only call for perimeter adhesive, which reduces use of low VOC adhesive.
Rubber flooring may not be suitable for your employee offices or conference spaces, but it can be a durable and comfortable solution in “back of office” areas like kitchens, restrooms, employee workout rooms and more. Rubber flooring combines extreme durability while being soft and quiet underfoot, hence why many professional gyms choose rubber flooring.
If you really want to win the hearts and minds of your employee animal lovers, a designated doggie space of artificial turf should earn plenty of kudos. With artificial turf common around apartments, doggie daycares and dog parks, dogs are used to the feel of it. It can be laid over existing subfloors or hard-surface flooring.
For indoor doggie space using artificial turf, ask your flooring design consultant about those with solid urethane backings that are easy to wash and that withstand moisture well.
Pets in the office are more common than ever. Before welcoming pets into your commercial space, make sure your flooring can stand up to the rigors. Intertech Flooring’s design consultants can help you evaluate the best options for flooring durability, moisture resistance and sound control. Contact Product Design Consultant Tess Shelton at firstname.lastname@example.org for a consultation.
Bill Imhoff is President/CEO of Intertech Flooring, leads three regional offices serving commercial clients across Texas and the Southwest.
This article was originally published in the Austin Business Journal and is used with permission. The original article can be found here. As an invited member of the Business Journal’s Leadership Trust, Bill provides thought-leadership content and advice to the Austin business community around his areas of expertise, including commercial flooring, entrepreneurship, leadership and workforce development.
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