When coming home from a hard day at work, for many people, a dog, cat, or other pet is one of the first things waiting to greet them. If you were to ask many pet owners why they go through the effort and expense of maintaining a pet, you’re generally going to get a similar set of answers, talking about how the animal provides unconditional love and companionship. For many people, simply relaxing at home with their pet makes them feel more relaxed, and helps make a house a home for them.
Now, imagine bringing some of those benefits to work with you every day. Chances are you’ve probably heard of animals like service dogs that provide physical and emotional support to people with various issues. The advent of office pets, or programs that allow people to bring their pets to work from home, try to translate some of these benefits into a workforce setting. Here are some of the benefits you stand to get from doing this, and how to find the right office pet match.
Why Use An Office Pet?
Perhaps the most substantial reason why you may want to consider implementing a pet policy or office pet is one of the biggest reasons people love having a pet at home: for relieving stress. Studies have shown that office pets can help relieve stress and anxiety in workplace settings, which, in turn, can create a more relaxed working environment and help improve productivity. Office pets have been associated with other benefits including lower blood pressure and reduction in symptoms of depression.
In the same vein, an office pet can also provide a great way for members of the team to bond. Having something in the office to break tension can help get your team members comfortable with each other, especially in a newer business. Having a pet can also foster a sense of morale within a company.
Another benefit that’s worth mentioning is work-life balance, and how office pets factor into that. Many people are placing a higher premium on the amount of time they spend in “work mode” and the time they spend at home. In some cases, you may not be able to offer perks like telecommunication as a part of your business, but you can make your workspace feel more like home with an office pet. The natural attention and care that pets require can also provide a practical break from various tasks.
In some cases, if employees can bring pets to work, it may tie in well with other employee initiatives. For example, many people wish they could have a gym at work, when that’s not possible, taking time to walk the office dog could help them get a little exercise and enjoy the pet’s company at the same time.
Managing The Downsides
With this said, as many benefits as there are, there are going to be some inherent drawbacks to implementing a pet policy or getting an office pet. For one thing, there are going to be certain environments, like food service, where having an animal around simply cannot work, no matter how well-trained the animal is.
However, even if your office is suitable for pets, there may be potential bumps in the road. For example, if you have an existing set of employees, you need to realize that not everyone is going to be an animal lover, and for some, it may be flat-out disruptive. This is why it’s essential to make sure that you take the time to inform all relevant employees of the possibility before it goes into practice. Some people may have pet phobias or allergies that make certain types of pets a poor fit for the office. This can be even more difficult to manage if you’re a business that has regular clients, customers, or visitors. Even if your employees are okay with animals, these people may not be, and the last thing you want to do is lose a sale or client over the office pet. Creating pet-free-zones may be a way to create balance here.
Along with this, there are also practical concerns that come with having an animal in the office. Naturally, there’s going to be some employee who’s tasked with feeding the animal, cleaning it, and taking it to use the bathroom, if needed. This represents a minor loss of productivity you need to account for. Another thing to consider is the fact that you don’t want the pet to be too distracting; thus, you may want to work with HR to put some limitations on the policy. This is especially important if multiple people may consider bringing their pets to work. If the pets don’t get along, it turns a relaxing workplace into a tense one.
Choosing The Right Office Pet
With these benefits and issues to consider, what makes the best office pet possible? The proper answer here is what is the best fit for your office. For example, many people may love the idea of having a dog at work due to their natural capacity for affection and playfulness. However, there are many different breeds of dog with different temperaments so you may want to look for one that isn’t overly energetic for those times when your staff need to focus. By comparison, a cat doesn’t need as much attention, though they have a natural curiosity that you want to make sure doesn’t have them creeping into your pet-free zones.
In some cases, for offices on the fence about pet policies, you may want to work your way up to something like a cat or dog, and start with a fish or reptile. The benefits with these are that they are naturally quiet and constrained to one area, but the drawback is that they may require a lot of maintenance to keep healthy.
Advertising Your Office Pet
As you can see, taking the time to put together a pet program or allowing employees to bring their own pets can reap dividends, so long as you take the essential preparatory steps. One of the biggest reasons that you want to do this is not just for the sake of your current employees, but for your future employees as well. More and more prospective employees are looking at not only factors like the wages you give out or your prominence in your industry, but the other smaller perks that you have to offer. Having an office pet or pet program can make your company stand out to that excellent candidate who happens to be an animal lover.
Glint Advertising can help you put some of your most unique areas of strength, like pet days, in front of job candidates and prospects. Reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 817-616-0320 for a consultation today.