Paws for thought: should you allow pets in the office?

Feb 6, 2019

Whether you’re a cat or dog person, there’s no denying that our beloved furry friends bring us immense joy and happiness. They cheer us up when we feel glum, calm us down when we feel stressed, and perhaps best of all, they don’t answer back.

So, it’s really no wonder that more companies are letting staff bring their dogs to work. If you’ve up to this point had reservations, possibly because you’re concerned about productivity levels if cute pups were prancing around the office, this might change your mind…

Benefits of bringing pets to work

To coincide with the annual #BringYourDogToWorkDay last June, the Telegraph shared an article listing the many benefits dogs can bring to the workplace. Here’s what we think are the most important points:

  • Reducing stress. Petting dogs has been scientifically proven to reduce stress, whether we own that dog or not. It lowers blood pressure, making us feel more relaxed and positive, which could have serious pros for your workplace environment.
  • Healthier workforce. Dog owners walk 79% further than non-dog owners, while owning a pet has numerous health benefits in the form of fewer doctor visits, lower cholesterol and improved heart health. So, encouraging pet ownership could lead to a healthier workforce with lower absenteeism.
  • Bridge communication gaps. Dogs are conversation-starters, increasing the ease and frequency of conversations between friends, colleagues and even strangers (just take a dog for a walk and see how many social encounters you have). So, in the workplace, dogs could help to improve team communication and as a result, camaraderie and teamwork.
  • Financial perks. Allowing staff to bring their dogs to work will save them money otherwise spent on doggy daycare or a walker, which is a genuine financial perk that costs you nothing. It could be the perk that ends up inspiring a candidate to take a job with your company.

The importance of a pet policy

If you’re going to make your office dog-friendly, you’ll need to set some ground rules. Creating a pet policy is a good place to start – here are some pointers:

  • Check everyone’s happy with pets coming into work – someone might have an allergy or feel uncomfortable with dogs around. It’s also important your team know they can come to you in confidence if they have any issues.
  • Designate certain days of the week when pets are allowed, as 5 days a week could be too much for your team.
  • Set rules for owners – it’s important dogs are well trained and well behaved, and that owners take responsibility for clearing and cleaning up after them at the end of each day.
  • Designate ‘pet-free zones’ within your office for when staff need to take some time out from all the cuteness!
  • Pet-proof the space – for instance tidy up cables, put lids on bins and utilise shelving for equipment and items currently near to the floor.

Welcoming dogs into the office will lower stress among your team, while at the same time improve productivity and morale. So too will designing and building a workspace that fosters productivity, creativity and collaboration among your team. Need help from the experts? Get in touch today!

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