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The Benefits of a Pet-Friendly Workplace

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June 26th is Bring Your Dog To Work Day across the UK. Given that most people are still working from home or on leave in light of the current global crisis, every day right now is Bring Your Dog to Work Day if you’re a pet owner.

But when things are back to normal, and we can all go back to the nine-to-five which we took for granted, bringing our pets to work may be a massive benefit for everyone. More and more companies are becoming pet-friendly in today’s business culture. Organisations are striving to design workplaces around the needs and desires of employees and supporting healthy work-life balances. Allowing workers to bring their furry friends into the office is just one of the workplace perks we are increasingly seeing.

Yet allowing pets in the workplace does not only benefit employees who need someone to look after their cat while they’re out of the house. Animals are good for business too, proving advantageous to employers and employees alike.

If you are doubtful that allowing the animal kingdom into your workplace will be a boon to business, here are some key benefits to running a pet-friendly office.

Reduced stress

Anyone with a pet knows how calming it can be to come home after a long day’s work and curl up with your cat or dog. Just their presence close to you can be a huge stress reliever. Studies have proven that the presence of an animal in the workplace has a significant impact on employee stress levels. This makes sense when you think about it. Pets create a comfortable, relaxed work environment, and there is always a furry animal on hand to stroke when times get tough.

Higher morale

Dogs are always happy to see you. And isn’t it an instant mood-booster when a friendly dog jumps at you, wagging its tail and begging to be petted? Many offices can be negative work environments, particularly when employees are under stress or working to hard deadlines. The presence of an animal can boost morale and make any office a more positive place to work.

Greater productivity

With happier, less stressed employees, it should come as no surprise that workplaces with animals tend to have the most productive workforce. This might seem counterintuitive, as surely an office full of dogs would be a major distraction? But evidence shows that taking regular breaks from work, perhaps to feed a cat or dog, can actually refresh your energy and make you more productive.

Better work-life balance

When employees can bring their pets into the office, it saves them a considerable amount of hassle involved in finding someone to care for them. Not only does it make their life easier, but it will have a significant financial benefit as well. As a result, workers will be happier and less distracted and value you more highly as an employer.

Improved communication

Having animals in the workplace can encourage team bonding, as it creates a shared interest and facilitates conversation. Nothing is more harmful to productivity than isolated workers and a lack of communication, so get your team’s creative juices flowing by opening up your doors to the world of pets.

Healthier lifestyle

Pets, particularly dogs, need to be looked after. Although this might seem like a time-draining chore, it actually encourages a more active lifestyle amongst your employees. Dogs will regularly need to be taken outside to relieve themselves or go on walks, and this new burst of activity in the office can be contagious. Your more active workforce will be healthier, more energised and more productive as a result.

Greater employee retention

The reduced stress levels and improved work-life balance amongst your employees mean they will foster much higher job satisfaction. Allowing them to bring in their pets discourages absenteeism and will reduce the likelihood of any stress-related health issues. If you want your workforce to stick around for longer, become a dog-friendly office.

More appealing workplace

When you need to recruit new team members, you want your company to look as appealing as possible. Nothing will make applicants want to work for you more than an office full of adorable dogs running around. Attract the best talent by offering animals as an incentive.

Happier pets

You’ve seen how allowing animals in the workplace can benefit the mental health of employees and improve business productivity, but another important consideration is that the pets will be happier too. Whether it’s a dog, a cat, a rabbit or a tortoise, they will no longer be stuck at home on their own without any company. They will have an office full of workers desperate to feed them, walk them, and give them all the attention they could want.

Some top tips for allowing pets in the workplace

Although the benefits of an animal-friendly work environment are clear, there are a few considerations employers must take into account before implementing a pet policy.

Allergies: Although many people in your office will be delighted to have pets around them, some may be allergic to animals or not enjoy being around them. Be respectful of this, and ensure there is a pet-free space where employees can work. If anyone is severely allergic, a pet policy may not be possible so make sure you check with all employees before you implement anything

Space: Do you have enough room in your office to accommodate pets? Will there need to be a specific office area allocated for animals? Many pet-friendly companies have set up special pet areas to separate animals from humans. Consider whether you have the space and the budget to allow for this.

Health and Safety: In the worst-case scenario, animals in the office could pose a health and safety risk for other workers. Even the most well-behaved animal can act up without provocation, potentially leading to an injured employee and possibly even legal action. Certain pets could spread fleas and ticks around the office, or they could be exposed to foods and chemicals around the office that are harmful to animals. Have a plan in place for such eventualities and make sure you are prepared for the worst.

Other Animals: One or two dogs in the office is manageable, but what will you do when your entire workforce takes you up on the offer to bring their pets in? Simply letting all the animals run free at once is a bad idea, as you never know how different animals will respond to each other. Start slow, and introduce pets to each other gradually to minimise any territorial aggression.

Distractions: Although animals in the workplace have proven productivity benefits, there is still a chance they could prove too distracting for workers. 

Damage: Anin place to protect your office and equipment from roaming animals.

Additional Costs: There are all kinds of costs that may arise when incorporating pets into your office. You may need to invest in pet-proofing to proteimals have little respect for people’s property, so you shouldn’t be too surprised if pets make a mess on the floor or damage office furniture. In the worst-case scenario, they could destroy expensive technology or ruin a piece of client work. Make sure you have a system¬†ct the office and replace or repair any damages. As an employer, you may wish to take on some of the costs of looking after pets, such as food, treats or toys. Visit Time for Paws to browse a selection of pet supplies for cats and dogs.

All things considered, becoming a pet-friendly workplace can be a huge benefit to employees, your business and the furry friends themselves. Implement an office pet policy and start seeing the benefits right away!