Team building exercises, company offsites, group lunches and happy hours are all ways to boost employee morale, build camaraderie and increase productivity. But, there is a much simpler way to achieve the same results without all the coordination and cost. Bring your pet to work! Yep, it can be that easy.
The benefits of pet ownership are widely known. However, it turns out that these same personal benefits also translate to the workplace. On some level, I already knew this. Here at d.trio marketing group, we are fortunate to work in a pet friendly building. Many of us have brought our pets into work on occasion. But, I thought we were simply a bunch of animal lovers. However, there is growing evidence that pets in the workplace have benefits for both employees and employers.
- Long work hours pass more happily.
- Pets serve as positive distractions. Pets remind people to take a mental or physical break from their work. A short walk or some playtime helps to prevent people from overworking and the stress that occurs when people spend too much time on a particular task or project.
- Pets help to keep spirits high, which leads to more positivity, improved morale and better communication.
- Pets have calming effects on people – reduced blood pressure and lower stress levels – which makes employees more cordial and productive.
- Lower stress means fewer stress-related illnesses and associated healthcare costs.
- The presence of pets may create camaraderie because they generate conversations or employee interaction that may not have happened otherwise.
- Allowing pets in the workplace allows employees to express some of their personality. Pets can be an empathic symbol that suggests warmth and comfort. Again, this may encourage more opportunities for social interaction and connection.
- Allowing pets in the office can be seen as a non-financial perk that helps with both employee recruitment and retention.
As with all good things, common sense and best practices must prevail. Here are some things that both the employee and the employer should take into consideration when pets are in the workplace:
- Pets need to be well mannered, well-groomed and up-to-date on all vaccinations.
- Employees and employers need to be sensitive to pet allergies and some work environments are not suited for pets due to safety or health concerns.
- Not everyone loves pets. Be respectful of personal preferences, personal space and boundaries.
- Pets can be unpredictable. Even the best-behaved animal may act out in a new environment or behave differently towards new people or other animals. Introduce pets slowly so that they can get acclimated.
- While pets can be a positive distraction, it is also possible for people to get overly distracted and lower their productivity.
- Employers need to be prepared to deal with potential consequences that could arise -accidental office damage, additional cleaning costs or an injury caused by an animal. A written policy may need to be in place.
With good communication and proper planning, bringing a pet to work may be just the spark that is needed to lift everyone’s spirits and make a positive impact on your business.