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Pets in the Office? Managing Carpet Cleanliness at Work

Pets in the Office? Managing Carpet Cleanliness at Work

As more offices reopen following temporary closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, staff will return – and possibly with a furry friend. Over the years, office pets have become more than just an office perk, they’ve become a major benefit to employee morale. A study by Virginia Commonwealth University found that people experienced less stress when a dog was around. Other studies found having pets at work may increase communication and socialization between employees. 

Pets may bring many benefits to an office environment, but they can also bring unpleasant odors and cause accidents that result in unsightly stains. How can building managers keep flooring clean and sanitary in the era of office pets? Following carpet care best practices and educating building occupants on the facility’s policies is a great place to start.

Pets Put Carpet Cleanliness at Risk

Many modern offices with open floor plans choose to utilize carpet to reduce noise while also creating a colorful and inviting space. Carpet can also improve indoor air quality (IAQ) by trapping dust and preventing it from being kicked back up into the air. This can be especially important in the case of employees with allergies who work in offices with pets.

Implementing a pet policy for the building must include rules around when a pet is allowed inside, who is responsible for it, how to address any accidents and ways to prevent carpet damage. A building can help prevent office pet stains by installing matting at the entrances and exits of the building and office doors.

Placing signs around the building about pet policies is another strategy to prevent office pet stains. For example, during certain seasons and bad weather, building occupants who bring pets to the office should be reminded to clean the pet’s paws and fur off before entering. And if a pet has an accident, occupants should have clear instructions on what to do and who to notify.

Even if pets at work are well behaved and don’t have any accidents, odds are they will still leave behind a lot of hair and may track in debris such as dirt, mud, sand or salt upon entering the building. To effectively remove hair and dry soils, facility managers should vacuum office environments daily. For those with multiple office pets, vacuuming more than once and during office hours may be required. Make sure the vacuum is certified by the Carpet and Rug Institute and is effective at removing fine items such as pet hair. A vacuum that works at a lower decibel level is also ideal in case cleaning has to be done while workers are present.

Dealing with Pet Accidents on Carpet

If an accident does occur, a facility manager should be called upon to address the issue as soon as possible. Building service contractors that service pet-friendly buildings should be ready to address a stain right away with the help of the following tools:

  • Stain and odor removing chemistry. Stains caused by urine, vomit or protein-based fluids must be addressed with an effective concentrate. Facilities with pet-friendly policies should have pet stain and odor removing chemistry on hand at all times. Look for chemistry that has digestive enzymes to help eliminate odor-causing contaminates and is safe to use on all types of carpet. Before applying chemistry, make sure all loose organic matter has been removed.
  • Small spotting tools. If a pet has an isolated accident indoors, it’s important to have smaller handheld tools, such as a spotting tool or complete spotting kit. These tools allow facility managers to lift stains by mildly agitating fibers and removing the organic matter without damaging the carpet.
  • Low-moisture encapsulation equipment. After a pet stain has been addressed, it’s important to check for any remaining spots or lingering odors the next day. A comprehensive carpet care program should be in place no matter the pet policy within a building. Using a low-moisture encapsulation system allows facility managers to frequently clean carpet, prevent permanent stains and odors from occurring and keep carpet in great shape over time.

If a pet stain has gone unaddressed for too long, it may require deep cleaning methods such as hot water extraction. Deep cleaning carpet should only occur when the office is closed, such as over the weekend, allowing carpet enough time to dry without being walked on.

Clean Paws = Clean Carpet

Pets in the office can help establish and improve a company’s culture. It may even attract and retain top talent within an organization. For building owners, having a pet-friendly policy can attract all different types of companies to rent out space. While there are many benefits to allowing pets to roam the office, it’s critical to establish a plan to prevent and address the unpleasant but unavoidable accidents that can occur with these animals. With the right tools, chemistry and policies in place, buildings can confidently welcome building occupants and their furry friends.

Does your building allow office pets? For more information about carpet care the Whittaker way, access our video tutorialsarticles and case studies, or contact us at 800.422.7686 or sales@whittakersystem.com

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