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Perks of Welcoming Pets in the Workplace

December 8, 2017 / by Tommy Twardowski

As you prepare to ring in the New Year, you'll likely be updating your 2018 calendar with the birthdays, anniversaries, vacations, etc. If you're a pet lover, another entry you should make is on the week of June 18-22, 2018. It's Take Your Pet to Work Week! Not all companies will be on-board with participating in this annual event. Others, though, are so enthusiastic about the idea of pets in the workplace that they've embraced the concept year-round!

Pet Perk One: Less Stress

Much like bringing greenry into your office, a myriad studies have concluded there's a tangible link between pet ownership and mental and physical well-being. One study conducted by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University split a group of full-time employees working the day shift into three groups: pet owners allowed to bring their pet to work, pet owners not allowed to bring it to work and non-pet owners. Pet owners allowed to bring their pets to work reported a decline in stress as the day progressed, while the pet owners separated from their pets during the day reported increasing stress as the day progressed.

Pet Perk Two: More Teamwork

According to research conducted by Purdue University researchers, when employee groups working on problem-solving tasks were joined by a companion dog, the group become friendlier, more creative, more active, enthusiastic and attentive, and were more likely to reach consensus. Group members also became more trusting of their coworkers.

Pet Perk Three: Higher Productivity

You've probably met people who treat their pets like their own children. In fact, you've probably got several of those people working in your office. One benefit of allowing pets in the workplace is that these extreme pet lovers will be more likely to come in early, work through lunch, or stay late to get ahead or catch up on work because they won't feel guilty about leaving their furry friend home alone.

Additionally, employees who are allowed to bring their pet to work are more likely to take short breaks throughout the day. Dogs need to be walked. Cats expect to be acknowledged! Contrary to popular belief, taking a five-minute walk or spending a few minutes focusing on something other than work allows employees to clear their minds so they can return with a renewed sense of focus and mental sharpness.

Pet Perk Four: Longer Employer Retention

Most people love pets! Because it's still relatively unusual to find pet-friendly offices, when pet lovers do find one, they've got a compelling reason to stay for the long term!

Pet Perk Five: Valuable But Inexpensive!

It's a safe assumption that creating a pro-pet policy in your office will create an air of excitement and anticipation - perhaps rivaling the response you get when you're handing out year-end bonuses! The difference is that welcoming pets need not cost you much money, at all. There's no need to build a pet-area into your office design -- unless you want to! And if you do, taking a smart approach to office space planning can ensure that's an inexpensive addition.

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Whether you decide to open the floodgates and allow every employee to bring their pets to work every day or create a schedule that allows one employee to bring one pet each week, or dog owners to bring pets on M, W, F and cat owners on T, Th, this change won't be expensive. It will, however, require advance planning, brainstorming and devising pet rules and policies.

Many of these policies will be common-sense (pets must be clean, healthy, flea-and tick-free and up to date on vaccinations; no aggressive pets allowed; owners must take responsibility for pet cleanup and oversight; employees must ask permission before feeding another employee's pet; etc.) Some policies will need be tailored to your particular office - you may want some spaces to be pet-free zones, for instance. Regardless of the specifics of your workplace pet policy, simply having one will be beneficial in so many ways!

Topics: Office Etiquette, Managers

About The Author

Tommy Twardowski

Tommy Twardowski

Tommy began his career in the office furniture installation business in 1978 and started his full-time career in 1981 with Houston Installation Services. Starting as a furniture installer, he developed a passion for the process of installation and learned to install all major manufacturers’ lines.