Pet Friendly

Hi,

We’re opening up a coworking space in Burnaby, BC, Canada. We’re talking about whether to have the space as pet-friendly or not. I’m pro having friendly well behaved pets in the space, but what have you guys found?

Geoff

I love this question - it’s one that’s come up a lot in our community over the years. Almost exclusively related to dogs…not pets in general.

We do have an office pet, a turtle named Timmy that I’ve actually had since I was 4. After nearly 30 years of being around people, Timmy might be the only turtle who actually comes over to the glass when people walk up to the tank, as if to say hi.

BUT! Back to more “normal” pets, three things we always remind people of are that:

1 - even friendly well behaved pets can trigger people’s allergies

2 - if you end up having more than one pet in the space, you never know how they’re going to act towards each other

3 - one person’s “friendly” pet is another person’s annoying pet. If I’m trying to work while a dog wants to be pet, it’s a distraction

We’ve been flexible on any hard rules, and obviously the pets aren’t malicious, but almost every time we have pets in the space on a regular basis we’ve had issues. Things get broken. Something gets peed on. Members get annoyed by a random lick of the hand while they were trying to get work done.

So all of this is to say that the answer is as much dependent on the non-pet-owners as it is on the pets and their owners. About once a year a member brings it up to the community and the conversation goes about the same way…and the overall preference (even among people who LIKE the pets) is that we don’t have them here all the time.

So we tell our members that if you want to bring your well behaved pet in for a visit, that’s fine, but it’s not good for them to be in the space all day and no matter what they need to be by your side (no roaming).

-Alex

···

On Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 2:31 PM, [email protected] wrote:

Hi,

We’re opening up a coworking space in Burnaby, BC, Canada. We’re talking about whether to have the space as pet-friendly or not. I’m pro having friendly well behaved pets in the space, but what have you guys found?

Geoff

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


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The #1 mistake in community building is doing it by yourself.

Join the list: http://coworkingweekly.com

Listen to the podcast: http://dangerouslyawesome.com/podcast

Hi Geoff,
Alex always has great responses.

I thought I’d chime in with another perspective. We are pet-friendly in both locations. One concrete floor, one carpet. No peeing yet :slight_smile: I was worried about all of the concerns Alex outlined but when we opened our Palo Alto space, we found we really had to follow the local culture of being pet-friendly.

What I’ve found is that generally, people perceive this to be a huge benefit but not many actually take advantage of it. In general, people with pets (mostly dogs), know whether or not their dog can handle being in a coworking space without peeing or growling or breaking something.

In Chicago, we had a very small dog that used to greet all of our members and visitors at the door and I’m pretty sure he was a major selling point. He is no longer a member and I consider him to be one of our biggest losses. He added a lot of personality and helped to trigger those serendipitous interactions with his random wanderings :slight_smile:

···

On Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 11:32:10 AM UTC-7, [email protected] wrote:

Hi,

We’re opening up a coworking space in Burnaby, BC, Canada. We’re talking about whether to have the space as pet-friendly or not. I’m pro having friendly well behaved pets in the space, but what have you guys found?

Geoff

Some of my experiences with this question:

  • There’s a cat cafe near our coworking space (teaming with cats). It’s NOT a great cafe and there’s huge competition in the cafe market here, but the cafe IS a great success. If every cafe had cats, I think this cafe would be out of business (and the No Cats Cafe would thrive).
    The point: whether pets are a positive or negative depends on what else is out there. If there are a lot of coworking spaces and yours is the only one to allow dogs (or vice versa), it might be a great selling point. Coworking with childcare is a real negative for most people without kids who they need to be near when they’re working (“I go to a coworking space to get AWAY from my kids” was one strong response when I brought up the idea of childcare to our members), but it’s often the ONLY solution for people with kids.
  • This topic (of allowing dogs) came up three times at our space far enough apart that it was worth asking existing members each time. All three times there were a few ABSOLUTE voices against pets (even though more people said they’d be happy with a cute dog around). The same thing happened when we asked about having music in the space (after seeing the results of some survey suggesting the vast majority of coworking space members prefer music in their space): a few strong voices against it without any voices nearly as strong in favor of the change. That said, I am confident that if we had started with a dog-friendly space (or a space with music, or… name your option with both pros and cons for members) and tried to change it, we would have had the same kind of reaction but in support of the opposite decision: overall preference for the status quo (see “status quo bias”).
    The point: The norms a coworking space starts with are essential to how that space’s community feels about those norms, so…
  1. Take our advice with a strong dose of skepticism: our experience with our members is inherently biased by what our spaces began with,
  2. It’s really hard to change something full of pros & cons mid-stride, so if you don’t have a community already, give strong weight to the choice that fits the community you’d like to be a part of (imagine if I had started with a “coworking & childcare space” and then polled my members about dropping the child care option),
  3. There is more than one right answer, depending on the community you have built (or want to build). I’m guessing none of us would recommend a heavy-metal blasting coworking space and if any of us introduced that feature our existing members would leave in droves. That said, if you started a heavy-metal coworking space in the right location, you might find yourself with a packed community of heavy-metal loving (and difficult to distract) coworkers and an incredibly dedicated community.
  • We were able to get around our “dog problem” (a few strong voices against with a majority of weak voices in support) because we have two floors. So we made one floor dog friendly. I don’t actually recommend this if you’re starting from scratch (there are so many other ways to divide floors), but for us with an existing norm, it was the only way we could have introduced the change.
    My 2 cents…

Will

···

On Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 5:13:04 AM UTC+1, Jamie Russo wrote:

Hi Geoff,
Alex always has great responses.

I thought I’d chime in with another perspective. We are pet-friendly in both locations. One concrete floor, one carpet. No peeing yet :slight_smile: I was worried about all of the concerns Alex outlined but when we opened our Palo Alto space, we found we really had to follow the local culture of being pet-friendly.

What I’ve found is that generally, people perceive this to be a huge benefit but not many actually take advantage of it. In general, people with pets (mostly dogs), know whether or not their dog can handle being in a coworking space without peeing or growling or breaking something.

In Chicago, we had a very small dog that used to greet all of our members and visitors at the door and I’m pretty sure he was a major selling point. He is no longer a member and I consider him to be one of our biggest losses. He added a lot of personality and helped to trigger those serendipitous interactions with his random wanderings :slight_smile:

On Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 11:32:10 AM UTC-7, [email protected] wrote:

Hi,

We’re opening up a coworking space in Burnaby, BC, Canada. We’re talking about whether to have the space as pet-friendly or not. I’m pro having friendly well behaved pets in the space, but what have you guys found?

Geoff

Will’s answer here is awesome. Thank you!

···

On Thursday, March 19, 2015, Will Bennis, Locus Workspace [email protected] wrote:

Some of my experiences with this question:

  • There’s a cat cafe near our coworking space (teaming with cats). It’s NOT a great cafe and there’s huge competition in the cafe market here, but the cafe IS a great success. If every cafe had cats, I think this cafe would be out of business (and the No Cats Cafe would thrive).
    The point: whether pets are a positive or negative depends on what else is out there. If there are a lot of coworking spaces and yours is the only one to allow dogs (or vice versa), it might be a great selling point. Coworking with childcare is a real negative for most people without kids who they need to be near when they’re working (“I go to a coworking space to get AWAY from my kids” was one strong response when I brought up the idea of childcare to our members), but it’s often the ONLY solution for people with kids.
  • This topic (of allowing dogs) came up three times at our space far enough apart that it was worth asking existing members each time. All three times there were a few ABSOLUTE voices against pets (even though more people said they’d be happy with a cute dog around). The same thing happened when we asked about having music in the space (after seeing the results of some survey suggesting the vast majority of coworking space members prefer music in their space): a few strong voices against it without any voices nearly as strong in favor of the change. That said, I am confident that if we had started with a dog-friendly space (or a space with music, or… name your option with both pros and cons for members) and tried to change it, we would have had the same kind of reaction but in support of the opposite decision: overall preference for the status quo (see “status quo bias”).
    The point: The norms a coworking space starts with are essential to how that space’s community feels about those norms, so…
  1. Take our advice with a strong dose of skepticism: our experience with our members is inherently biased by what our spaces began with,
  2. It’s really hard to change something full of pros & cons mid-stride, so if you don’t have a community already, give strong weight to the choice that fits the community you’d like to be a part of (imagine if I had started with a “coworking & childcare space” and then polled my members about dropping the child care option),
  3. There is more than one right answer, depending on the community you have built (or want to build). I’m guessing none of us would recommend a heavy-metal blasting coworking space and if any of us introduced that feature our existing members would leave in droves. That said, if you started a heavy-metal coworking space in the right location, you might find yourself with a packed community of heavy-metal loving (and difficult to distract) coworkers and an incredibly dedicated community.
  • We were able to get around our “dog problem” (a few strong voices against with a majority of weak voices in support) because we have two floors. So we made one floor dog friendly. I don’t actually recommend this if you’re starting from scratch (there are so many other ways to divide floors), but for us with an existing norm, it was the only way we could have introduced the change.
    My 2 cents…

Will

On Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 5:13:04 AM UTC+1, Jamie Russo wrote:

Hi Geoff,
Alex always has great responses.

I thought I’d chime in with another perspective. We are pet-friendly in both locations. One concrete floor, one carpet. No peeing yet :slight_smile: I was worried about all of the concerns Alex outlined but when we opened our Palo Alto space, we found we really had to follow the local culture of being pet-friendly.

What I’ve found is that generally, people perceive this to be a huge benefit but not many actually take advantage of it. In general, people with pets (mostly dogs), know whether or not their dog can handle being in a coworking space without peeing or growling or breaking something.

In Chicago, we had a very small dog that used to greet all of our members and visitors at the door and I’m pretty sure he was a major selling point. He is no longer a member and I consider him to be one of our biggest losses. He added a lot of personality and helped to trigger those serendipitous interactions with his random wanderings :slight_smile:

On Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 11:32:10 AM UTC-7, [email protected] wrote:

Hi,

We’re opening up a coworking space in Burnaby, BC, Canada. We’re talking about whether to have the space as pet-friendly or not. I’m pro having friendly well behaved pets in the space, but what have you guys found?

Geoff

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to [email protected].

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The #1 mistake in community building is doing it by yourself.

Join the list: http://coworkingweekly.com

Listen to the podcast: http://dangerouslyawesome.com/podcast

We have always been dog-friendly, but our community came up with a short list of caveats that the human friend must consider when they bring in their dog:

  • if it barks, pees/defecates, damages the property, bothers other members, it has to be removed from the space
  • if another member has an allergy or fear of dogs, it has to be removed from the space
  • the human is responsible for the dog at all times, including during meetings, lunch runs, going to the bathroom, etc
    We’ve had several dogs here on occasion, and most dogs are nervous and want to explore their first one or two times in the space, and then sleep most of the day any other time they’ve been in. We have not had more than one dog here at the same time, but some of our members are trying to schedule a day when they can bring in their dogs to socialise and see how they interact, keeping the list above in mind. Most of those with dogs that do bring them in on occasion live nearby (within a 20min walk).

The impact of a friendly dog in our space is tremendously positive. Most members like the casual interruption of curiosity and unconditional love and don’t mind the break in concentration.

Thankfully we have not had an unfriendly dog in the space, so we haven’t had any issues, but all members know the collaboratively written list above and members and their comfort and safety come first.

r.

···

On 19 March 2015 at 08:59, Alex Hillman [email protected] wrote:

Will’s answer here is awesome. Thank you!

On Thursday, March 19, 2015, Will Bennis, Locus Workspace [email protected] wrote:

Some of my experiences with this question:

  • There’s a cat cafe near our coworking space (teaming with cats). It’s NOT a great cafe and there’s huge competition in the cafe market here, but the cafe IS a great success. If every cafe had cats, I think this cafe would be out of business (and the No Cats Cafe would thrive).
    The point: whether pets are a positive or negative depends on what else is out there. If there are a lot of coworking spaces and yours is the only one to allow dogs (or vice versa), it might be a great selling point. Coworking with childcare is a real negative for most people without kids who they need to be near when they’re working (“I go to a coworking space to get AWAY from my kids” was one strong response when I brought up the idea of childcare to our members), but it’s often the ONLY solution for people with kids.
  • This topic (of allowing dogs) came up three times at our space far enough apart that it was worth asking existing members each time. All three times there were a few ABSOLUTE voices against pets (even though more people said they’d be happy with a cute dog around). The same thing happened when we asked about having music in the space (after seeing the results of some survey suggesting the vast majority of coworking space members prefer music in their space): a few strong voices against it without any voices nearly as strong in favor of the change. That said, I am confident that if we had started with a dog-friendly space (or a space with music, or… name your option with both pros and cons for members) and tried to change it, we would have had the same kind of reaction but in support of the opposite decision: overall preference for the status quo (see “status quo bias”).
    The point: The norms a coworking space starts with are essential to how that space’s community feels about those norms, so…
  1. Take our advice with a strong dose of skepticism: our experience with our members is inherently biased by what our spaces began with,
  2. It’s really hard to change something full of pros & cons mid-stride, so if you don’t have a community already, give strong weight to the choice that fits the community you’d like to be a part of (imagine if I had started with a “coworking & childcare space” and then polled my members about dropping the child care option),
  3. There is more than one right answer, depending on the community you have built (or want to build). I’m guessing none of us would recommend a heavy-metal blasting coworking space and if any of us introduced that feature our existing members would leave in droves. That said, if you started a heavy-metal coworking space in the right location, you might find yourself with a packed community of heavy-metal loving (and difficult to distract) coworkers and an incredibly dedicated community.
  • We were able to get around our “dog problem” (a few strong voices against with a majority of weak voices in support) because we have two floors. So we made one floor dog friendly. I don’t actually recommend this if you’re starting from scratch (there are so many other ways to divide floors), but for us with an existing norm, it was the only way we could have introduced the change.
    My 2 cents…

Will

On Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 5:13:04 AM UTC+1, Jamie Russo wrote:

Hi Geoff,
Alex always has great responses.

I thought I’d chime in with another perspective. We are pet-friendly in both locations. One concrete floor, one carpet. No peeing yet :slight_smile: I was worried about all of the concerns Alex outlined but when we opened our Palo Alto space, we found we really had to follow the local culture of being pet-friendly.

What I’ve found is that generally, people perceive this to be a huge benefit but not many actually take advantage of it. In general, people with pets (mostly dogs), know whether or not their dog can handle being in a coworking space without peeing or growling or breaking something.

In Chicago, we had a very small dog that used to greet all of our members and visitors at the door and I’m pretty sure he was a major selling point. He is no longer a member and I consider him to be one of our biggest losses. He added a lot of personality and helped to trigger those serendipitous interactions with his random wanderings :slight_smile:

On Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 11:32:10 AM UTC-7, [email protected] wrote:

Hi,

We’re opening up a coworking space in Burnaby, BC, Canada. We’re talking about whether to have the space as pet-friendly or not. I’m pro having friendly well behaved pets in the space, but what have you guys found?

Geoff

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

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The #1 mistake in community building is doing it by yourself.

Join the list: http://coworkingweekly.com

Listen to the podcast: http://dangerouslyawesome.com/podcast

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to [email protected].

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____________________
rachel young
rac…@camaraderie.ca

We’re located at 2241 Dundas St W, 3rd floor

(between Bloor and Roncesvalles)

Find us online:

Website/blog and Newsletter, Twitter,

Facebook, Google+, Yelp, and LinkedIn

New Camaraderie locations:

La Prairie (Quebec) - now open

Port Credit (Mississauga) - summer 2015

We’re a proud member of CoworkingToronto,

CoworkingOntario, and CoworkingCanada!

We’re in a very dog-centric town (most merchants have water bowls on the sidewalk, restaurants have “puppy patios” so people can dine while out walking their dogs, etc.) so it was always planned that we’d be pet friendly. We have two 13-year old chihuahuas - the quiet, non-yappy ones, and the members have adopted them and miss them when I leave them home during cold/foul weather. They mostly sleep or greet whoever comes in the door.

We have two floors and no dogs allowed on the upper floor. We also have an enclosed courtyard, so that’s another place any visiting dogs can hang out. I’ve only had one member actually bring her dogs and it was uneventful.

One of our permanent desk members delayed joining because his dog was quite old and wasn’t going to be alive much longer. I offered that he was welcome to bring his dog in while he worked. He never did, but he cited that flexibility as one of the reasons he joined us.

Glen Ferguson

Phone: 301-732-5165

Email: [email protected]

Website: http://coworkfrederick.com

Address: 122 E Patrick St, Frederick, MD 21701

···

On Thu, Mar 19, 2015 at 9:32 AM, rachel young [email protected] wrote:

We have always been dog-friendly, but our community came up with a short list of caveats that the human friend must consider when they bring in their dog:

  • if it barks, pees/defecates, damages the property, bothers other members, it has to be removed from the space
  • if another member has an allergy or fear of dogs, it has to be removed from the space
  • the human is responsible for the dog at all times, including during meetings, lunch runs, going to the bathroom, etc
    We’ve had several dogs here on occasion, and most dogs are nervous and want to explore their first one or two times in the space, and then sleep most of the day any other time they’ve been in. We have not had more than one dog here at the same time, but some of our members are trying to schedule a day when they can bring in their dogs to socialise and see how they interact, keeping the list above in mind. Most of those with dogs that do bring them in on occasion live nearby (within a 20min walk).

The impact of a friendly dog in our space is tremendously positive. Most members like the casual interruption of curiosity and unconditional love and don’t mind the break in concentration.

Thankfully we have not had an unfriendly dog in the space, so we haven’t had any issues, but all members know the collaboratively written list above and members and their comfort and safety come first.

r.

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to [email protected].

For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.

____________________
rachel young
rac…@camaraderie.ca

We’re located at 2241 Dundas St W, 3rd floor

(between Bloor and Roncesvalles)

Find us online:

Website/blog and Newsletter, Twitter,

Facebook, Google+, Yelp, and LinkedIn

New Camaraderie locations:

La Prairie (Quebec) - now open

Port Credit (Mississauga) - summer 2015

We’re a proud member of CoworkingToronto,

CoworkingOntario, and CoworkingCanada!

On 19 March 2015 at 08:59, Alex Hillman [email protected] wrote:

Will’s answer here is awesome. Thank you!

On Thursday, March 19, 2015, Will Bennis, Locus Workspace [email protected] wrote:

Some of my experiences with this question:

  • There’s a cat cafe near our coworking space (teaming with cats). It’s NOT a great cafe and there’s huge competition in the cafe market here, but the cafe IS a great success. If every cafe had cats, I think this cafe would be out of business (and the No Cats Cafe would thrive).
    The point: whether pets are a positive or negative depends on what else is out there. If there are a lot of coworking spaces and yours is the only one to allow dogs (or vice versa), it might be a great selling point. Coworking with childcare is a real negative for most people without kids who they need to be near when they’re working (“I go to a coworking space to get AWAY from my kids” was one strong response when I brought up the idea of childcare to our members), but it’s often the ONLY solution for people with kids.
  • This topic (of allowing dogs) came up three times at our space far enough apart that it was worth asking existing members each time. All three times there were a few ABSOLUTE voices against pets (even though more people said they’d be happy with a cute dog around). The same thing happened when we asked about having music in the space (after seeing the results of some survey suggesting the vast majority of coworking space members prefer music in their space): a few strong voices against it without any voices nearly as strong in favor of the change. That said, I am confident that if we had started with a dog-friendly space (or a space with music, or… name your option with both pros and cons for members) and tried to change it, we would have had the same kind of reaction but in support of the opposite decision: overall preference for the status quo (see “status quo bias”).
    The point: The norms a coworking space starts with are essential to how that space’s community feels about those norms, so…
  1. Take our advice with a strong dose of skepticism: our experience with our members is inherently biased by what our spaces began with,
  2. It’s really hard to change something full of pros & cons mid-stride, so if you don’t have a community already, give strong weight to the choice that fits the community you’d like to be a part of (imagine if I had started with a “coworking & childcare space” and then polled my members about dropping the child care option),
  3. There is more than one right answer, depending on the community you have built (or want to build). I’m guessing none of us would recommend a heavy-metal blasting coworking space and if any of us introduced that feature our existing members would leave in droves. That said, if you started a heavy-metal coworking space in the right location, you might find yourself with a packed community of heavy-metal loving (and difficult to distract) coworkers and an incredibly dedicated community.
  • We were able to get around our “dog problem” (a few strong voices against with a majority of weak voices in support) because we have two floors. So we made one floor dog friendly. I don’t actually recommend this if you’re starting from scratch (there are so many other ways to divide floors), but for us with an existing norm, it was the only way we could have introduced the change.
    My 2 cents…

Will

On Thursday, March 19, 2015 at 5:13:04 AM UTC+1, Jamie Russo wrote:

Hi Geoff,
Alex always has great responses.

I thought I’d chime in with another perspective. We are pet-friendly in both locations. One concrete floor, one carpet. No peeing yet :slight_smile: I was worried about all of the concerns Alex outlined but when we opened our Palo Alto space, we found we really had to follow the local culture of being pet-friendly.

What I’ve found is that generally, people perceive this to be a huge benefit but not many actually take advantage of it. In general, people with pets (mostly dogs), know whether or not their dog can handle being in a coworking space without peeing or growling or breaking something.

In Chicago, we had a very small dog that used to greet all of our members and visitors at the door and I’m pretty sure he was a major selling point. He is no longer a member and I consider him to be one of our biggest losses. He added a lot of personality and helped to trigger those serendipitous interactions with his random wanderings :slight_smile:

On Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 11:32:10 AM UTC-7, [email protected] wrote:

Hi,

We’re opening up a coworking space in Burnaby, BC, Canada. We’re talking about whether to have the space as pet-friendly or not. I’m pro having friendly well behaved pets in the space, but what have you guys found?

Geoff

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

To unsubscribe from this group and stop receiving emails from it, send an email to [email protected].

For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.


The #1 mistake in community building is doing it by yourself.

Join the list: http://coworkingweekly.com

Listen to the podcast: http://dangerouslyawesome.com/podcast

Visit this forum on the web at http://discuss.coworking.com


You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups “Coworking” group.

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Whoa, Thanks for all the great feedback. I’ve got lots to think about. Thank you to everyone that posted. It’s been tremendously helpful. Our space isn’t opening till middle of June and right now we’re talking to potential anchor tenants so we’ll keep our options open and see what our community is looking for.

Thank you again

···

On Wednesday, March 18, 2015 at 11:32:10 AM UTC-7, [email protected] wrote:

Hi,

We’re opening up a coworking space in Burnaby, BC, Canada. We’re talking about whether to have the space as pet-friendly or not. I’m pro having friendly well behaved pets in the space, but what have you guys found?

Geoff