Workplaces have become far less formal in recent years. Smart attire is no longer required in many offices and there is an altogether more casual feel about many establishments. But should the more relaxed approach to work extend to welcoming pets into shops, offices and the workplace in general?
You might think that the answer to that question is obvious. Pets would be a serious distraction wouldn’t they? But there are several potential advantages to consider before you completely dismiss the idea.
There is little doubt that pets relieve stress. Many people suffer from severe stress at work and being able to enjoy the company of their pooch, or someone else’s for that matter, could really help them. Stressed employees are not productive employees and so perhaps a few cats and dogs around the place would result in more work being done.
Animals tend to get people talking and so their presence could lead to greater communication and more teamwork.
Morale and Job Satisfaction
Who wouldn’t feel good about being able to spend more time with their pet? Workers will inevitably feel better about their job and the morale of the entire office could be lifted if there are a few furry friends around the place.
If employees can take their pets to work, they may be able to make savings on day care or walking services.
Pets could mean that customers and prospective customers feel more relaxed on the premises and that they enjoy their time visiting the business. The animals project the image of a friendly and caring organisation and one which can be trusted. This may encourage customers to make more purchases or to engage the services of the company.
An improvement in morale will lead to enhanced performance. In addition, employees who don’t have to worry about getting home to care for their animals might be happy to work longer hours.
A pet friendly policy could enable businesses to attract the best talent.
There are plenty of reasons why pets in the workplace could be a good thing. However, there are downsides too. Not all workers are animal lovers and some may suffer from allergies and phobias. Pets can be a major distraction and the animals might damage equipment and furnishings. There are potential issues with insurance as there would be a risk that dogs could bite workers or customers. The HR department would have more work to do creating and enforcing a pet policy. Obviously there are some workplaces where pets would clearly be inappropriate or impractical.
Are pets allowed in your workplace? If so, how have they affected the working environment?