Maxwell Stephens

Is it wise to allow pets in the workplace?

Many companies are starting to recognize the benefits which can be brought to the workplace as a result of allowing pets inside. Companies who have introduced this have already found increased work ethic, employee satisfaction and a performance-enhancing effect. Since the pandemic, people have started to realize just how important their pets are in their lives for both their physical and mental well-being.

Countless studies have found that pets offer unique social support – which in turn can reduce stress, enhance cognitive function, and encourage social interaction. Research also suggests that they counteract depression and anxiety in people. Anything that can combat stress in the workplace can be of considerable benefits due to the negative affects stress can have on employee motivation and concentration, and can lead to burnout and illness. The presence of pets within the workplace may ultimately increase the productivity and efficiency of many companies.

One particular area of research focused on the factors of stress, job satisfaction, organizational commitment and social support, and was conducted on three groups of employees from one company. One group brought their dogs into the workplace, one group left them at home and the other group did not own dogs. The study went on to find that the presence of dogs in the office made a huge difference. Those who brought their dogs into the workplace were found to be significantly less stressed than those who left their dog at home or did not own a dog at all. The presence of their pets also resulted in more positive interaction between co-workers.

Although there are reportedly numerous benefits to having office pets, obviously allowing pets into the office requires careful consideration before you let the animals loose! Before allowing pets to enter the workplace, managers should first consider the impact that it will have on other employees. Health and Safety should be a key consideration here, paying particular attention to any allergies in the office. In addition, it is common for people to have phobias of certain animals and so every employees well-being must be a top priority at all times. To overcome this, some companies which have allowed pets have also introduced ‘pet free zones’ to get the best of both worlds. To prioritize the well-being and safety of all employees in the office, it’s recommended for the company to specify the rules and regulations. For example, in order to allow dogs in, they must be fully trained, insured and vaccinated. 

In summary, it does appear that pets in the office can have a very positive impact, but only if it’s done in the right way. Employers need the proper policies in place, ensure they consider all of the members of staff, and ensure employee wellbeing is prioritized.

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