Walking our dogs outdoors can be a big challenge for those of us who live in places where winter means snow. Snow brings new obstacles that make things difficult – and sometimes dangerous – for dogs.
As winter draws near, make sure your dog is as safe and comfortable as possible on cold, snowy walks.
Having experienced the adverse effects of Midwestern winters firsthand during my time as a professional dog walker in Chicago, I’ve come up with some tips for pet parents and their pups to stay safe in the snow.
You’ll want to bundle up in the snow, but just because your dog has a fur coat provided by Mother Nature doesn’t mean they can always do without extra layers.
Different breeds tolerate snow differently, and it’s essential to do your research before letting your pup play in it. Chihuahuas will not handle cold weather and snow as well as huskies.
There are plenty of coats for any breed of dog that is easy to put on and take off. Just make sure you take measurements and get the right size. If you are unsure of your dog’s breed and snow tolerance, it is best to play safely.
Shovel And Use Pet Safe Ice Melt
Before you head out, make things easier on you and your pup. Even though they’re on four legs, they can still slip and fall on icy stairs or walkways just like you.
Shovel the area outside your door and get a pet-safe ice melt to prevent ice from forming.
It’s important NOT to use regular de-icing salt, as salt creates a reaction with ice that burns paws. These burns can be fairly severe if the salt isn’t removed right away, and at the very least, it will cause your pup a lot of discomforts.
Paw protection is essential for protecting your dog from the salt used to melt ice on streets and sidewalks.
Dog boots or paw wax can prevent paw pads from suffering. Dogs need salt protection more than snow and ice, but it’s also important to prevent frostbite.
This also applies to humans. Your hands or feet may go numb as you walk and hold the leash, and you may not realize the level of danger you are in. Always wear gloves and boots to keep snow from accumulating around your feet or getting wet.
A towel by the door will not only keep your home from becoming a mess, but it will also help you keep your dog dry and warm. It also allows you to remove some of the snow stuck to your pup’s fur, which can keep your dog cooler for longer after a walk.
Will you take your puppy for a walk in the snow in winter? Do you have any tips for walking your dog in the snow? Let us know in the comments below!
Hamza Fazal is a reporter for The Hear UP. After graduating from the University of Abbottabad, Hamza got an internship at the NPR and worked as a reporter and producer. Hamza has also worked as a reporter for the Medium. Hamza covers health and science for The Hear UP.
Great Resignation: How to beat Great Resignation with Employee Experience
The world was forever changed in late 2019 when the Coronavirus made its appearance. Countries shut down. Streets were empty. Companies held as best they could or were forced to close their doors. Many would believe that such an event would lead to employees wanting to hold on to their jobs. Typically, large numbers of resignations signify a good economy and abundant availability of jobs allowing people to follow passions instead of necessity.
Post-COVID employee experience is much different.
For two years, and some a bit more, people were forced to spend time alone, realigning the importance of human interaction, well-being, and happiness. This drive for more personal fulfilment, satisfaction, and growth stemmed The Great Resignation.
No longer were employees basing staying with jobs out of need or comfortability. Now they look for work-homelife balance, greater satisfaction and better employee experiences, or they will leave. So how do companies face this? How do they increase employee retention and improve employee engagement?
The secret is in employee experience.
Holistic Employee Experience
There are, of course, no quick fixes for the Great Resignation, small wins can motivate and drive longer-term goals for your organization. The Great Resignation—and COVID by extension—taught many employees that life meant so much more. That the daily grind working in offices with long commutes, stress, lack of rest or relaxation, and the hustle of strenuous work weeks while normal was not conducive to happiness and mental well-being.
But this shift can be used as a blueprint for better employee experience!
Companies who work on being human-centric in ideals, strategies, and decision-making can improve greatly their chances of stemming mass exodus. Post-covid employee experience is now the new golden standard, and it looks at taking a more comprehensive and holistic view of experiences.
How can you be more holistic and how does it help?
- Think beyond probationary periods – Your employees are more important than the first 30, 60, or 90 days of employment, and yet many companies stop professional development and training after these dates. Normalize career growth, evaluations, employee 360 reports, and feedback loops to keep learning and advancement in the scope of your employees. While doing this, you’re also keeping your strategies and Key Performance Indicators—KPIs—fresh as you go.
- Communication is key – Talk to your employees about what they need, want, desire, and what their ambitions may be. Learn your people like you want them to learn your company. With transparent and open communication, you are engaging with your employees and creating an environment of consistency, openness, and inclusion—aspects employees’ desire.
- Employee-centric Corporate Culture – It may seem like the best idea is to center your company culture around the company’s values, vision, and strategies, but this is only half the battle. Integrating employee experience into the fabric of company culture ensures the company is as focused on their employees’ happiness as their own. It creates a bond to grow engagement, which has an effect on employee satisfaction and experience. As these rates increase, so to can employee retention numbers and customer experiences.
- Life and work-balance Erasure – Should your employees have to ask for more work-life balance? No, they shouldn’t. When built directly into work environments or expectations, it becomes something standard instead of something to be sought after. Examples of this could be:
- Flex hours
- Unlimited PTO
- Work-from-home or hybrid offerings
- Expanded benefits to include mental health and free resources
- Altered work hour schedules
Rise of Human Experience
Human Experience is a viewpoint that blends aspects of customer experience with employee experience, important in a post-COVID world. Instead of viewing them as separate entities entirely, companies can connect metrics and measurements of both to view a more comprehensive experience. Employees are customers—or potential ones—and as such, so too can customers become employees. With this view, it refocuses employee experiences in direct answer to the needs stemming The Great Resignation.
Ways you can use CX strategies within EX:
- Employee Journey Mapping – Like in customer experience, companies can work on mapping journeys for positions within the company overall, building in professional development and growth from the outset. They can then alter these journeys through personalization when an employee fills that role.
- Monitoring metrics – connect goals, milestones, and trajectories with metric directly linked to KPIs. Think employee net promoter score (eNPS), employee experience (EX), employee satisfaction (ESAT), and employee engagement (EE), for example, as they can correlate with operational success as well as customer success with your organization.
- View of employees – view your employees with the importance you view your customers. You cannot survive without either, and just as you court customer loyalty for more profitable relationships, so to can employee relations boost revenue, growth, and expansion.
Remote and Hybrid Work
One of the lasting effects of COVID was the desire to work from home or have the flexibility to. According to Gallup, nearly half of full-time working Americans—45%—are still working remotely. White collar workers have even higher percentage, coming in at 70%. After the shutdown, many leaders were surprised to find employees still wanted to work remotely. The Pandemic exposed an internal need for conducive work environments and flexibility.
The office and all it entailed wasn’t as attractive as some leadership believed.
It was agile leadership who switched to maintaining remote or hybrid options who won out against competitors. Record job openings only further highlight how living is more important, and work can no longer be focused on only paying bills. Organizations who shift better with their employees retain talent better.
Remote work is not the only fix, but it does show how views of work’s place have vastly changed.
Act on Meaningful Feedback
Closing the loop between you and your employees is more important than ever before. Simply hearing them is not enough. Active, empathetic listening pair with actions on a consistent basis is the wining combination. Employees not only want to know they are heard but that their input is valued.
Regularly checking in with your employees, and not only attaching it to their performance, creates a culture of partnership.
Ways to gain meaningful feedback to inspire data-driven action:
- Employee 360 Review [LN1] [SP2] – not to be confused with an employee evaluation, the 360-degree review is a way for all employees to gain feedback from peers, subordinates, and managers to assist employee self-evaluation.
- Pulse checks – a powerful anonymous survey tool. Pulse checks are in between annual reviews and keep the feedback coming for HR initiatives, but it can also inform business strategies that are employee-focused as well.
- Surveys – From satisfaction to engagement, the best thing you can do is ask your employees. Working from assumptions can lead you down costly mistakes. By asking directly you can get their true opinions—think of using anonymity to influence candid responses.
The biggest takeaway from this is: employee experiences is an important part of operational success. The evolution of its importance and what it means cannot be discounted. Doing so can led to higher employee turnover rates and you won’t retain your best talent. As employee experience continues to change, the forward-thinking companies with innovative leadership will make it to the top.
[LN1]Would it be okay to tag our template here?
Yes, we can [SP2]
Khalil ur Rehman is a proud born and raised in Abbottabad. Khalil has worked as a journalist for nearly a decade having contributed to several large publications including the Yahoo News and The Verge. As a journalist for The Hear Up, Khalil covers climate and science news. [email protected]