Working with a Dog: The Art of Office Pet Etiquette

Chief - Pamiris PDX Office Dog

Meet Chief, the Pamiris PDX office dog.

The inside of our Portland headquarters, located right off the corner of 21st and Irving, looks exactly like you’d expect a young, local office to look. Bikes line the atrium, next to a coffee table covered with Pamiris Payroll brochures and swag. Offices constructed out of wood and glass offer the perfect balance of privacy and sociability. Jars of Sterling Coffee Roasters coffee beans sit, almost empty, next to a well-used espresso machine. But the first thing most people notice is Chief, the Pamiris office dog. Chief is a 1-year-old lab/mastiff mix, certainly not a lapdog. And while the Pamiris team appreciates his enthusiasm and charm, we also accept that not everyone is going to adore Chief like we do. How does a business maintain a professional work environment without compromising a love for their dog? Here are some of our standards:

  • Take care of any outstanding behavioral problems before moving your dog into your office. Ask friends and family for candid feedback on your dog’s behavior. Identify any problems and make sure they’re taken care of before your pet sets foot in the workplace.
  • Keep your dog clean. Don’t give clients or prospective employees any reason to dislike your dog before they even see it. Maintain a regular cleaning regimen to avoid unpleasant smells.
  • Inform first-time office visitors that you have an office dog. If they’re aware of the excited greeting they’ll receive upon entering, they’re less likely to be put off by it. Additionally, mentioning the presence of a pet upfront allows clients with allergies to suggest an alternate meeting place.
  • Designate a dog-free meeting room for clients who may be allergic. For some, the inability to buddy up with your pup isn’t dictated by personal preference, but by health restrictions. Be sure these clients have a place to conduct business with you where they won’t be distracted by itchy eyes or a more serious allergic reaction.
  • Make sure your dog gets some exercise before arriving in the office. A dog with too much energy bounding through a small office is a perfect recipe for toppled monitors and shredded reports. Take your dog for a quick walk or run around the block before the two of you head to work. The morning activity will mellow out your pooch and the fresh air will clear your head allowing you to work more productively.
  • Take responsibility for your pet. Every now and again accidents happen. Even the best owners have to clean up after mystery stomach flus or quiet a fit of sporadic barking. Always apologize promptly and sincerely for any misbehavior. If applicable, couple your apologies with a plan of action. Show the affected person or people that their concerns are important to you, and that you’re taking steps to fix the problem.

Awareness is the key to a peaceful workplace, with or without an office pooch. Remain sensitive to the needs and preferences of your clients and employees. They’ll appreciate your considerateness, and your dog will appreciate the extra positive attention.

Does your office have a pet policy? An office dog? What tips do you have for maintaining a productive, worry-free atmosphere? Leave them in the comments. The writer of the most interesting tip will receive a package of McTavish gingerbread cookies embellished with the Pamiris logo. Trust us – they’re really good.

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Taking the Plunge: Deciding to Outsource Payroll

Stack of paperwork

If your desk is starting to look like this, it may be time to outsource your payroll to an online service provider.

Whether you’ve just made your first hire, or your company headquarters is already packed with productive employees, you can enjoy the increased time, money, and peace of mind knowing that your payroll is in competent hands. Outsourcing payrollallows you to focus on the key functions of your business, and leave tedious details in the hands of a professional. Unsure how to go about outsourcing your payroll to an appropriate provider? Keep reading.Step 1: Define your business objectives. Discuss the following questions with your executive team, and be very precise with your answers.

  • What processes are you considering turning over to an outsourced payroll service provider?
    Bad answer: “We want to outsource our payroll process.”
    Good answer: “We want to outsource our payroll process, including payroll-related tax calculations, withholdings and deposits, to an online-based provider who offers electronic reports, mobile payroll services, and direct deposit payment options.”
  • What do you hope to achieve by outsourcing these processes?
    Bad answer example: “We hope to see an overall increase in productivity.”
    Good answer example: “We hope that by eliminating payroll as a technical concern, that our office administration team will have more time to commit to crucial projects X, Y, and Z.” or “by outsourcing payroll our HR personnel will have the ability to focus on X,Y,Z”
  • What results are you expecting from outsourcing these processes?
    Bad answer example: “Easy pay periods.”
    Good answer: “As a small company with an uncomplicated payroll, we expect to spend a maximum of 2 hours per pay period double-checking our information before handing the process over to our payroll service provider. At that point, we expect to be removed from the equation beyond the occasional phone call.”Remember: if you skip this step and enter into an agreement without fixed expectations, there’s a good chance both you and the company you’ve hired will become frustrated with the business relationship.
Step 2:Do your homework. Talk to a few businesses that look similar to yours on paper about outsourced payroll service providers they use. Then, talk to a few businesses that look similar to how you want your business to look on paper about which companies they outsource to. Narrow your choices down to two or three companies.Step 3: Meet with prospective outsourced service providers, questions ready. You may want to inquire about how these service providers have dealt with payroll issues similar to ones your company faces. At your meeting, be clear and upfront about the objectives and expectations you defined in Step 1.

Step 4: Weigh the pros and cons. While you want to be sure to crunch numbers and get the most bang for your buck, there are equally important factors to consider that aren’t as easily quantified:

  • Competence- Is their work punctual and accurate?
  • Scalability- Can their infrastructure adequately accommodate client growth?
  • Ease of Use- Does using their services give you a headache? Is their system well designed, properly labeled, and user friendly?
  • Flexibility- Are their representatives willing to work with any unique situations? Is their system able to expand to accommodate extra features?
  • Relationship- Are you treated like your business and time is valuable? How long do you have wait on the phone before speaking to a client representative?

Step 5: Pick a winner. You’ve done your homework, met with providers, and weighed the merits of each. You’re ready to make an informed decision. Choosing an outsourced payroll service provider should be the beginning of the end to accounting-related headaches and tedious work-arounds. It’s time to enjoy your freedom, and focus on what you do best- running your business.

This article is inspired numerous Quora questions concerning the “best” payroll provder for their company. We hope that this was helpful in addressing the misconception that there is one “best” outsourced payroll provider for any company. Was this article helpful in addressing these concerns? Is there other information you’d like to see addressed in future blog posts? Let us know in the comments.

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