Are pets at work a good idea?

January 2017

If Google does it, it’s gotta be good, right?

Google is among a growing number of companies who allow, and even encourage, pets in the workplace.

In the States, companies like Nestle, Amazon and Etsy all have pet-friendly policies which allow pets at work. Salesforce has a policy called Puppyforce. They let employees book a special room outfitted with everything dogs and their owners could want for a comfortable day at the office, including soundproofed walls, water bowls, padded cages, dog beds, and cleaning wipes.

It’s kind of cool. If you’re a pet lover that is.

The idea is backed up by many studies that prove how pets have a calming effect on us, how they can reduce blood pressure and lower stress, and in the workplace, how pets can make employees more creative, productive, and cordial to each other.

So let’s all bring our pets to work!

Dr Dolittle would approve. But is it really a good idea?

Here are some pros and cons.


Why pets in the workplace are a good idea

Pets improve morale
Companies that allow pets at work are showing they value their employees by putting effort into providing positive work experiences. Allowing pets at work can improve work-life balance and reduce stress for pet owners. And pets can make work just a little bit more fun, as well as provide a family feel.

Pets help communication
Purina believe that having animals around helps employees interact with one another where they wouldn’t normally venture outside their comfort zones. Sometimes it’s easier to talk to a co-worker if there is a pet around to break the ice.

Pets help reduce stress
A 2012 study by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University found employees who brought their dogs to work had reduced stress throughout the day compared to colleagues who didn’t have pets. Taking a few minutes to play with a pet can provide a mental break and reduce stress. Plus, it can help you get you on your feet more often.

Pet’s improve creativity
An office that allows pets, be they dogs, cats, fish or birds has a certain vibe about it. Relaxed, casual, open. All those qualities workplaces try to instil to promote creativity. Taking a mental break to pat a dog, watch some fish, or talk to a parrot may just spark the idea you’ve been waiting for.


Why pets in the workplace are a bad idea

Some people are allergic or scared of animals
Having people sneeze all day due to pet allergies is not ideal. Nor is being too scared to leave your desk due to your colleague’s Alsatian or Persian cat. For non-pet-lovers, pets are not conducive to productivity or morale in any way shape or form.

Many landlords don’t allow pets
So no pets allowed.

Pets can be a safety hazard
Pets roaming around the office can be a source of entertainment for the most part. But at the end of the day, every pet is an animal that can’t be held accountable for its actions. A dog attack at work would not be good, particularly for the injured party – but also for the dog owner and the business.

Pets can be distracting
Pets need to be fed, watered, walked, and played with on a regular basis throughout the workday. That’s time away from working. Much like the cigarette breaks of old.


Are you ready to pet proof your office?

Whether it’s your “pet project” or your “pet peeve,” the key is to make the rules about pets at work clear and fair. You don’t want your workplace turning into a menagerie overnight!

Allowing pets into the office is a big decision, so weigh it up carefully.

Purina are enthusiastic about pets at work (not surprisingly) and provide 5 steps to a pet-friendly workplace.

Paws for thought. Would you want pets in your workplace?

 

Our mission at Crestline is to help create vibrant and effective workspaces where people love to work. Want to find out more? Give us a call on 07 855 9932 or email info@crestline.co.nz

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