These days, most offices are more than a place to clock in and clock out after a long day of filling in logbooks. More offices and office managers are taking into consideration their staff welfare and going the extra mile to ensure that employee morale is at peak levels at all times. From sleep pods, game nights, summer parties and other team-building exercises and programs, inviting furry friends into the office environment has become a thing a lot of progressive companies are getting into.
Many workplaces can be stressful, which causes a drop in productivity and energy levels and what could be a better booster than looking into the adoring eyes of your beloved pet? Having pets in the office is not only beneficial to employees but is also to companies and employers. Most of us are familiar with the warm feeling you get after a long day away from your pet, but what if that period of absence could be cut short? It may sound like a dream come true for most pet owners and something to be treated with trepidation by office managers, but there are many benefits of having in-office pets.
Companies like Amazon, (only one of the most successful and highest-grossing businesses in the world) have had office pets for years and even had a Welsh Corgi launch a few of Amazon.com’s pages by ceremoniously clicking a mouse. This retail giant has over 1,000 office dogs in their Seattle headquarters alone. If you are still conflicted about inviting some of the man’s best friends into your workplace, here are a few benefits of having pets in an office you wouldn’t want to miss out on.
Pets help with employee health
Pets are known to help lower anxiety levels and reduce blood pressure in addition to making the workplace more comfortable. As we spend more time living a sedentary life sitting at a desk for hours, it increases health risks like obesity and heart complications. However, taking your pet for a brief walk will help get your blood pumping and constitutes some light exercising. Employees also get a gentle exercise which will help them stay fit and reduce doctor’s office visits. You can create a roaster outlying pet duties for the whole office that means at least everyone gets a chance to walk the office dogs and spend some time out in the fresh air. The effect will have a reduction on tension and mental blocks, so employee health and productivity is significantly boosted. For employees with cases of mental illness, being able to bring their pets to work allows them to have gainful employment and interact better with their coworkers, according to a study shared in the International Journal Of Environmental Research and Public Health in 2017.
Pets foster a spirit of camaraderie
Some employees tend to feel self-conscious or shy to converse with others and keep to themselves when they are in the workplace. This harms productivity as it could lead to a tense work environment with zero trust among staff. With the help of pets, the team is more likely to mix up. Especially when it comes to stopping by to pet a pup or kitten and thus striking up a conversation with other people in the same area. This is a great way to build team spirit and trust, which makes team-based tasks get executed quicker and more comfortable. Your staff will feel great about being among the 9% of companies that permit pets at the workplace. They would already have excellent communication and know each other well enough to foster work across different departments. In the office, they may have shared responsibilities in caring for the pet and would have shared conversations while crowded around the pet, delivering belly rubs.
Pets in the office mean longer working hours
If you have noticed your staff at the edge of their seats waiting for time to clock out, they are probably in a hurry to go home, spend time with their pets or feed them. If you have a pet-friendly policy, employees will be more likely to spend more time and have more focus on their tasks. It can get annoying for animals when they are left all alone in the event there is a pet-related emergency. Having the pet at work also works out well for your furball as they get to spend time with their favorite humans as well as being safe. Your staff will also value the companionship when they are working overtime, and as such, they will put in more valuable work. Employees have said they would be willing to put in more work and cut short vacation times if it means they could bring their pets to work. They bring their owners to comfort and help them unwind after putting long, intense work hours.
Pets are a great way to attract young talent
Companies like Google realize the importance of having a work environment that makes their talented young staff eager to spend all hours at their workplace. While working hard to create the next best thing, most millennials would be excited to stay at a company that lets them bring in their furry friends. With such a policy, your firm would be more attractive to talented young individuals who will stay focused and stay loyal to your company. You get a competitive edge over other employers who are not as pet-friendly, especially in IT-related and tech startups with smaller staff numbers where pets are welcomed.
Pet-friendly policies make you appear more progressive
Not many workplaces are open to bringing pets to work, so by adopting this policy, you show employees that your company is flexible and willing to change, evolve, and embrace new concepts. It dramatically boosts your company’s image, is excellent for public relations, and makes prospective employees keener to work with you. They believe you have their best interests at heart, including their health and happiness; thus, you are branded a forward-thinking company that is always a good look. Even your customers will appreciate having a cute adorable face to look at while they carry out their business with your company.
Pets make work hour’s flyby
Time flies when you’re having fun and what’s more fun than hanging out with your pet? When your staff has their animal companion nearby as they work, time flies and your team barely notices all the amount of work they have been able to accomplish because they always have cute and cuddly company. When employees feel alone, they’re more likely to keep glancing back at the clock, time watching, and counting down the hours until they can leave. However, with a dog, cat, or even a bird around, staff feel more motivated to spend more hours focused on their work because they know they’re not alone.
Pets are great for stress relief
According to a study conducted by the International Journal Of Workplace Health Management, the stress levels and level of cortisol released by employees who had their pets are work is significantly lower than those who did not have a furry friend to pet during the day. Chronic stress among staff leads to health risks and reduced productivity which is no company would want to have so pets in the office produce a furry solution to that problem. Stressed-out employees will feel a sense of calm and warmth if they have been given access to a cuddle session with their animal companion. Companies like Bissel Homecare ensure that pets are welcome to help ease their owner's stress and also provide amenities such as dog water bowls and treats.
Precautions to take when adopting a pet-friendly office policy
Knowing all the benefits that come with having pets in your office, it is understandable that you would be eager to implement these policies in your company to help make your employees more productive. Not everyone will quickly adapt to having pets in the office so the following precautions should be taken to ensure a pet-friendly office is not at the detriment of others.
• Check that your lease agreement has a permit for animals in the building, so you do not get into trouble with your landlord.
• Animals can be quite distracting, resisting their cute faces will be delicate for specific staff, and they may be tempted to ditch work and spend all their time playing with the pets so ensure that there are systems in place to check such behavior.
• Some employees may have allergies to animals and their fur. It’s vital to have pet-free zones where employees whose health can be threatened by the presence of animals can work safely.
• Sometimes animals behave in strange and threatening ways for no reason. Because they cannot speak and explain what is wrong or be reprimanded appropriately, there is no way to solve these issues when they arise. Only well trained and adequately behaved animals should be let into the workplace, and there should be medical supplies on hand to handle these situations in the event that they occur.
• Having a pet-friendly policy may incur more costs for the organization. Pet proofing the office and providing adequate facilities to ensure the pets are well taken care of like beds, food, and water bowls, toys, and treats can be costly. It’s essential to be sure that a company can handle these costs before welcoming them into the office.
• Pets make messes, and nothing spells unprofessionalism than a messy work environment. Measures should be put in place to ensure that pet areas are always clean, they do not shed, and get regular vaccinations to avoid spreading illnesses.
• It may not be a smooth transition for pets to move from spending all their time in homes to a work environment with more people than they are used to. Ease your pets into the workplace slowly, so they adapt easier and are less prone to act out or be stressed.
• Companies like Zoosk organize events for their pets and owners to mingle and get to know each other. Adopting such strategies can help you build trust and strengthen the bond of employees, so productivity receives a boost as well.
Allowing pets into your office can be a significant boost to employee morale and benefit your company in so many ways. To get the most out of this experience, ensure that there are robust rules and policies in place to make the process as seamless as possible. Who knows? Your company may just be among the next set of forward-thinking companies that actively celebrate “Bring your pet to work day” and inspire others to welcome our four-legged friends into corporate environments.