Pros and Cons of Bringing Your Pet to Work
There are a plethora of reasons why you may want to bring your pet to work with you. With more and more individuals and families opting to add a furry friend to their lives, the relationship between pet and human has never been closer or more accepted. We’re going to list the pros and cons of bringing your pet to work and some pet toys which you can place in your office to help keep your pet happy, and distracted, throughout the day.
As previously accepted norms begin to change and morph to adapt to newer ideologies, we’ve begun to see more and more companies and employers allow pets to come to work with their owner. This shift is happening quickly and rapidly, with a recent study indicating that nearly 7% of employers allow employees to bring their pets with them to work. This is up from 5% just a few years earlier.
Bringing pets to work can have a slew of benefits and positives for employees. However, there are also pitfalls that need to be considered and debated before enacting a bring your pet to work policy. While not an easy decision, it is one that can have healthy, positive effects on your staff if done correctly.
Benefits of Bringing Your Pet to Work
Lowers Stress and Increases Job Satisfaction
A 2012 study by the Virginia Commonwealth University found that bringing a pet to the office may make a positive difference by reducing stress and increasing job satisfaction for other employees. With stress being one of the largest contributors to employee absenteeism, burnout, and decreased morale, allowing a pet inclusive workplace may decrease stress in your staff.
“Although preliminary, this study provides the first quantitative study of the effects of employees’ pet dogs in the workplace setting on employee stress, job satisfaction, support and commitment,” said principal investigator Randolph T. Barker, Ph.D., professor of management in the VCU School of Business.
No Added Cost to The Employer
A bring your pet to work policy can increase job satisfaction, while lowering employee stress, at no additional cost to the employer. The policy should be well thought out before implementation; however, it is by far the cheapest benefit an employer can provide to employees.
Increase in Employee Retention
Employees surveyed have shown a positive inclination towards an employer with a bring your pet to work policy. Such a policy will not only encourage additional applicants, but it will also increase employee retention. Employees will become accustomed to bringing their pets to work with them and will be hesitant to look for work elsewhere, where they may not have the same or a similar policy.
Many large companies are using the bring your pet to work policy as a recruiting tactic. Companies such as Google, Amazon, Etsy, and Ben & Jerry’s have introduced a pet policy and seen a positive correlation. By instituting a similar policy, you can attract the best talent in your area and offer a policy that not too many companies or employers currently offer.
Decrease the Stress from Pet Care
Many pet owners lament the costs associated with pet care. By instituting a bring your pet to work policy, you are able to offer your employees added savings throughout the year on pet care. These savings can be used by your employees on other items and will likely be greatly appreciated.
Pets in the office increases communication between different employees and departments. Employees may feel more comfortable introducing themselves to meet a new furry friend or may find it easier to strike up a conversation about pet ownership. These conversations and relationships are invaluable in promoting and fostering productivity, intradepartmental communication, and efficiency.
Positive Company Image
Allowing pets in an office is a more progressive and friendly policy. Doing so may make your customers perceive your company as being more progressive, friendly, and open to new trends and ideas. This can be useful in nurturing relationships and gaining new accounts.
Increased Employee Commitment
Many employees indicate that a main burden on their time is their pet at home. Many employees rush home to feed their pets or take them out for a walk. By bringing their pets with them to work, these employees no longer need to worry about their pets and can dedicate their time to their job.
Disadvantages of Bringing Your Pet to Work
Unfortunately, many individuals have phobias and fears of animals and pets. This fear is difficult to control and allowing pets in the workplace may create an uncomfortable work environment for them. This can lead to a decrease in productivity and a difficult, tense atmosphere.
Similarly, some employees may have certain allergies to animals and pets. These allergies are unavoidable and may require medication, and in some extreme cases, hospitalizations. This will also create a difficult working environment for those employees.
Pets require certain levels of attention throughout the day. This includes time to eat, play, and use the bathroom. It may be difficult for employees to accommodate an animal’s needs between meetings or deadlines.
Although we like to believe that our pets are perfect, some simply aren’t. Many pets will bark, howl, growl, or hiss at other animals or humans. This can be severely distracting for fellow colleagues and coworkers.
Many religions find certain animals to be unclean and discourage their touching. You may not want to introduce these animals in the workplace, which can make navigating the workplace more difficult for those members.
Potential Legal Issues
Providing a workplace clean and clear of injury is the goal of every employer and a right of every employee. Some animals may become aggressive and could lash out, bite, claw, or scratch an employee. This could lead to some legal issues and may complicate your workers’ compensation policy. Be sure to review your policy and discuss a pet inclusive policy with your provider to ensure everything is covered correctly.
Tips for Creating a Bring Your Pet to Work Policy
When deciding to enact a bring your pet to work policy, there are a few tips and tricks which should help make the transition easier and smoother.
- Pets must be healthy in order to come to work. Any pet that is sick should be left at home.
- Pets should be kept up to date on their vaccinations.
- Pets should be well-groomed
- Pets should have good hygiene
- Pets should be introduced slowly
- Inform other employees of pet needs and behavior. Let other employees understand how your pet may react in certain situations and what their threshold may be.
Best Pet Accessories & Toys in the Office
While your pet is with you in the office, you may consider bringing in some toys, accessories, and other knickknacks to keep them busy and occupied. We’ve rated some of our favorites below, which you can purchase from Amazon or other big box retailers.
- Smart Bones Holistic Sticks for Dogs
- Milk-Bone Maro Snacks Dog Treats with Real Bone Marrow and Calcium
- Old Mother Hubbard Classic Crunchy Natural Dog Treats
- Cat Crack Catnip
- Friskies Party Mix Adult Cat Treat Canisters – Real Chicken
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness Grain Free Crunchy Cat Treats