Make no bones about it, the concept of a pet friendly workplace is really catching on. In fact, a 2015 Society for Human Resource Management survey found, “Eight percent of American workplaces allow employees to bring their furry loved ones to work, which is up from five percent in 2013.”
Innovative companies like Google, Eventbrite and Indiegogo are leading the charge and have already experimented with pet friendly workplace policies. Is this the right move for your business?
It’s a Stress Reliever
A study from Virginia Commonwealth University shows that,”Employees who brought their pets to the workplace experienced an 11% drop in stress levels, while those who were forced to leave their pets at home had a 70% rise in stress levels.”
You could make the argument that a pet friendly workplace kills two birds with one stone. First, pet owners will be happy to bring their animals to work and don’t have to deal with the stress of separation. Second, other employees without pets will get to bond with the animals, which should create a calmer atmosphere.
It Can Boost Productivity
Another study by Central Michigan University examined the impact that dogs have when present in the workplace. According to their findings, “When dogs were present in a group, employees were more likely to trust each other and collaborate more effectively in the office.”
By streamlining collaboration and building team chemistry in this manner, it’s an effective way to create a more productive workforce.
Better Employee Morale
It’s hard to take things too seriously when pets are around. Their playful nature and zest for life is often contagious and can quickly lift the mood of employees. Pets teach us to live in the moment and enjoy life, which is a natural catalyst for better morale.
Potential Workplace Distraction
Although pets can be cute and cuddly, they can also be a significant distraction. In fact, you may find employees devoting more time to petting and playing with animals than getting actual work done.
Information from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America reports that, “As many as three in 10 people with allergies have allergic reactions to cats and dogs.” If you have employees who suffer from pet allergies, it’s obviously going to be problematic if you’ve got several dogs and cats roaming around. It can also create resentment among those employees.
A final concern involves the potential for costly damages to your workplace as well as your employees’ personal items. Say somebody’s pet has a penchant for chewing and destroys your office furniture. This type of scenario can get ugly in a hurry.
Offering a pet friendly workplace is definitely something to consider. Several companies have already tried and have had legitimate success. However, it’s important to note that there are some potential drawbacks, and pets aren’t everyone’s cup of tea.
By weighing the pros and cons, you can decide whether or not allowing employees to bring their furry friends to work makes sense for your business.