Pets are part of almost every family. Some people view pets as an added responsibility they would rather avoid. For others, pets are a member of the family and are accorded equal care. Many will argue that owning a dog is the best choice you can ever make - that dogs are referred to as man’s best friend is not taken lightly by dog owners. A dog provides faithful company and is a sure way to make a new friend in the park! Some argue a cat is a better pet, but who is to say any pet is better than the other?
Allowing pets at work is an age-old debate. The ‘Bring your Pet to Work’ policy is one that is fast taking root. Before you allow pets into the workplace, make sure you put some ground rules in place. The benefits of pets at work far outweigh the disadvantages, but both must be considered.
More and more companies are realizing the benefits of allowing pets at work. This is especially true for highly stressful jobs. Studies have shown that bringing pets to work acts as a stress reliever. Employees who brought their pets to work exhibited a more relaxed mood, while those who did not bring their pets had increased stress levels throughout the day.
Employees who experience stress have the freedom to play with their pet, which tends to be relaxing. It also helps that they don’t have to worry about their pet’s well-being.
More and more employees who take their pets to work report a feel-good attitude. They tend to be more satisfied with their workplace, and knowing they can take their pet to work signifies an acceptance. They tend to work harder and are more productive.
Bringing pets to work also boosts morale. It enhances an atmosphere of camaraderie and better communication. Employees bond as they have a common interest, social interactions move a notch higher and the office is warmer as a result.
Company image improvement
The company’s image improves substantially. The pet aspect makes the company seem approachable and giving it a more humane face. Clients coming onto the business premises feel more relaxed when they get a chance to play with an employee’s pet. The visit turns out to be more fun than they would have thought.
The customer’s perception of a company changes immediately, which is a plus for business growth! Clients will come back to an establishment they feel has a welcoming atmosphere. Pets, especially dogs, help break the ice in tense meetings by allowing everyone to relax.
Saves employees’ money and time
The ‘Bring your Pet to Work’ policy is an immense help to employees who work long hours. Some make long commutes to their workplaces and it is a hassle for them to arrange pet care. This means they save on cash meant for pet day-care.
The amount of time wasted to and from the place of pet care is also a problem for the employee. With an animal policy in place, all you need to do is lock up, go with your pet to work and leave with him in the evening. It is the perfect arrangement, right? Many pet owners own dogs. Most companies have dog play areas, pet minders and sometimes pampering services such as dog spas and grooming.
Employee performance is higher
An employee who is relaxed about his pet will perform better at work. There are fewer incidences of an employee taking time off to care for a sick pet. A relaxed employee is a very productive one, and people who work in highly stressful situations need to have peace of mind. If you work in the creative industry, you will know that relaxation is a crucial aspect. You tend to be more creative without having to worry about things going on at home.
Working hours are also longer these days, and you tend to put in more work when your mind is at ease. When you have a deadline to meet, you are able to put your whole mind to the task at hand. A pet is practically a member of the family; its welfare matters as much as a child does, and it sometimes needs even more care. Knowing it's safe will help you work better.
Brings down employee turnover
It is very expensive to hire and train staff, only for them to leave after a while. Having the ‘Bring your Pet to Work’ policy makes it attractive to stick around. It is a prerequisite for female employees to look at a company’s maternity leave policy. This is the same for pet owners. A company that allows its employees to bring their pets to work attracts a lot of talent who tend to stay for longer.
When a company caters for its staff’s pet welfare, it means they are less likely to leave the company in a hurry. The cost of training them will not be a loss to the company. They will have long recouped the expense and even train others.
Everything has its cons. On the flip side, pets, especially dogs, can be a distraction for their owner and co-workers. The dog may have to be walked frequently. The dog’s whining or barking may be a problem. Dogs are often up to some mischief, and employees may get distracted, looking for a bit of entertainment. Dogs may cause messes by upsetting the trash bin every so often, and the cleaner must keep up with such incidents.
Allergies and animal phobia
Some people are seriously allergic to fur. Your furry friend may not be very welcome in this case. Others may have had nasty experiences with some animals, and have a deep-seated fear of them. This means that such people would have to be kept in pet-free sections of the company.
Pets may be a potential cause for legal issues. The pet may bite, scratch or trip an employee or client. If this happens on company premises, you may find yourself being slapped with a legal suit. You must make sure all the pets are insured for third-party liability claims. Have a vet check them in-house for fleas and worms every six months.
Discuss these possibilities with a lawyer and cover all possible scenarios. If a dog is a potential threat, it would be wise to keep it leashed all the time, or have it restricted to specified dog rooms. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Pets, especially dogs, may have accidents on the carpet. They may chew on furniture or scratch it. In as much as the dogs may be highly trained, accidents do tend to happen. You must be prepared for such eventualities.
They should be restricted from eating areas and a cleaner should be at hand to deal with any accidents immediately.
The company must draft a Pet Policy that governs what steps the company takes in case of any pet incident. Steps may include putting the pet on probation, or completely banning the pet from the workplace.
The policy specifies which pets are acceptable. Some people may turn up in the office with snakes! The policy also specifies the pets’ frequency in the office, and how they should be contained.
Pets in the workplace are a relatively new phenomenon that has been catching on since 2008. The so-called millennials are the majority in the workplace. They often refuse to be separated from their pets. They work better when allowed to keep them in the workplace.
Are you considering having a ‘Bring your Pet to Work’ policy? These are some excellent examples of pros and cons you need to be aware of before you do. Let us know your thoughts about this in the comments below.