The Benefits of a Pet-Friendly Workplace

27/08/2019

Pet-friendly workplaces are on the rise, with more and more companies joining the likes of Amazon and Google with the implementation of Dogs At Work policies. In this article, we explore the key benefits of a pet-friendly workplace.

Reduces Pressure on Pet Owners

One of the biggest challenges facing pet owners is juggling pet care around their working life. For owners that work full time, having a pet at home can be a huge strain both emotionally and financially. Pets, particularly dogs, are social creatures and therefore can struggle with being at home alone for long periods of the day.

To counteract this, many working pet owners have to duck out of work to check on their pets or pay dog sitters or dog walkers which can become a significant financial burden. As well as saving your employees the expense of dog sitters, allowing pets into the workplace will give your employees peace of mind that their pets are within reach and can be cared for without needing to compromise their working life.

This makes for a workplace which attracts top talent - employees that feel supported by their company and are therefore more likely to stay.

Improves Communication and Provides Networking Opportunities

We think almost everyone has, at one time or another, been in a situation where they have struck up a conversation with a stranger over a shared appreciation for the cuteness of their pet. Pets have been proven to significantly ease social interactions and provide opportunities to meet new people by instantly creating a shared interest. An increase in communication between people who would otherwise not know one another can be of great benefit to the workplace where cross-department collaboration is key.

Beyond meeting new people, office pets can help build a sense of community and connection among teams, as well as a sense of camaraderie. Who wouldn’t suggest a cuddle with the office dog to boost a coworker’s morale? In this way, pets can have a positive impact - not only on their owner but also on those around them.

Makes for Healthier Employees

The majority of pets require regular exercise as part of their daily routine which is why many studies have found that, on average, dog owners walk significantly further than non-dog owners. When a workplace is dog-friendly, employees can take their dog for a lunchtime walk as opposed to paying a dog walker. In doing so, they will get some all-important exercise! Getting up from a sedentary position to engage in light exercise such as walking is a great way to stay active and avoid health issues.

In addition to the physical benefits of exercise, there are a whole host of psychological benefits that come from taking a break and exercising, including decreased stress, improved state of mind and a more productive afternoon. Again, this not only affects pet owners but also encourages those around them to be more active, too. Have an important meeting to discuss? Why not catch up over a dog walk in the sun?

Reduction in Stress

As mentioned above, the benefits of having a pet are not solely physical. Studies have shown that pets can have a positive impact on mental wellbeing by significantly lowering levels of stress. Pets provide social and emotional support for humans as they are a consistent presence in their owner’s life, come rain or shine.

Additionally, petting a dog can limit stress by reducing blood pressure and making you feel more relaxed. Over a period of time, a lower level of stress can lower the risk of heart disease and diabetes. In work environments where stress is rife, having pets around could make a significant difference to how your employees feel at work, as well as improving their long term health.

Increased Productivity

All of the benefits mentioned thus far have the cumulative effect of resulting in a happier, healthier and more productive workforce. Many companies that have tried pet-friendly policies have had great success, with employees stating that their pets remind them to take breaks, giving them a fresh perspective when they come back to their desk ready to tackle a problem.

In a 2017 study of dogs in the workplace, one finding showed that subjects with pets showed “significantly greater improvements in their performance of the arithmetic and speech tasks compared with those who had not''. To us, this sounds like pets can actually improve your quality of work!

When it comes to pet-friendly workplaces, it is clear that there are numerous benefits to allowing employees to bring their furry friends into the office, not least of all that they look very cute! That being said, there are some considerations to make regarding health and safety and hygiene before you roll out a pet-friendly policy. However, when the correct steps are taken, we think bringing pets to work can be a barking success!

This article was written by Sophie Barber from The Click Hub.

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