Who let the dogs in?
It’s no secret that workplace stress causes negativity and in return creates a tense environment for all employees. Pets in the workplace create benefits as well as distractions, but in a good way. According to a study by the University of Southern California, “pets in the workplace create benefits for employers and employees alike. While pets have been seen as an employee-only benefit in the past, factors that positively affect employees correlate with improved office morale, absenteeism, and a healthy work-life balance.” Let’s talk about the benefits as well as the distractions that pets in the office provide.
Before we dig into the heart of this conversation, it’s important to know a few facts. Approximately 60% of Americans own a pet. It’s not surprising that there is a cultural shift toward permitting access for pets in spaces that have traditionally been more narrowly defined. Quite obviously dogs seem to outweigh the rest of nature when it comes to bringing animals into the office. According to Scientific American, “Big names like Google, Mashable, and Amazon have pet-friendly policies that welcome non-assistive companions into the office on a daily basis.”
More and more frequently, employers and employees are finding that pets at the workplace make them happier, lower stress levels, and create a comfortable, flexible environment. For those of you whom own a pet, more specifically a dog, know that they can trigger interactions with others that may never have taken place. Same goes for the workplace. These conversations and camaraderie lead to better communication and with that comes trust. Trust is a key component to a thriving and successful working environment. According to USC, “trust and communication rival stress and promote productivity, causing improved morale and reduced absenteeism.”
Make no mistake, pet owners are a busy group. Tons of people, every day, commute into the office early in the morning, work for about 4 hours and then head home to feed and walk their pets. Somewhere they find time for a quick lunch, then of course, back to the office to round out the day, and then, you guessed it, back home. I conducted a survey asking my fellow Crawford Thomas Recruiting employees (with a pet of some kind) if they would rather work from home for 1/2 of the day or bring their pet into work with them. You’ll be surprised to know that bringing your pet in was the winner by a landslide. Work-life balance is about achieving the most of your day with the time given. We all have the same 24 hours. If the pet owners can stay in the office for a while longer, they reduce the miles on their car, the stress of driving, gas in the tank, possibly a pet daycare cost is reduced, and above all, they’re more productive being in the office for longer hours.
Distractions, the good kind
Clearly this article is written for the pet-owning, office-workers of America. However, distractions from pets in the workplace are inevitable. But are they bad? I asked each and every none pet-owning employee if they thought that having other people’s animals in the office would be a distraction? Nearly all of them said yes, but in a good way! Distractions at work can be positive. Staring at a screen for 8 hours is certainly damaging to your eyes, so having a small distraction here and there throughout the day can be beneficial. Key word is ‘small’. Don’t lose focus on your daily tasks.
Just as you wouldn’t leave your pet unattended in a mall or department store, you shouldn’t leave Fido unattended in the workplace. It only takes one bad egg to ruin the fun for all.
Tips for Pets in the Workplace
Pets in the workplace are beneficial, but the proper steps should be taken by employers to ensure a healthy environment for pets and employees.
– Maintain good hygiene. Not only should employees be healthy at work to avoid spreading sickness, but pets should as well. Pets should be groomed, cleaned, as well as free of contagions and fleas or ticks.
– Confirm vaccinations are up to date.
– Introduce new pets slowly. Pets are still animals, and need to be acclimated appropriately to new environments. Especially when there are other pets and people involved. New and unique environments can stress pets out and cause unusual or destructive behavior
What are your thoughts on pets in the workplace?
Let us know on our LinkedIn!