A Pet Friendly Office: Benefits and Maintenance
Many famous companies, including Google, Meetup and Amazon, have opened their doors to dogs, cats and other pets, with the goal of making their employees happier, less stressed out and more productive. This action showed to be morale-boosting and comforting. This is something that can be applied to smaller offices and home workplaces as well. However, many of the employers and some of the workers have their concerns when it comes to hygiene and pet obedience. This doesn’t have to be an obstacle. Let us look at all the benefits of keeping a pet inside an office, and whether they outweigh the risks. Also, we’ll show you how to minimize those risks, in case you really want to let your furry friend inside your workplace.
Improved workplace satisfaction
Office days can be gloomy and uninteresting. Surely the presence of soft and gentle living beings can make the employees happier and more satisfied. Many studies have addressed this topic, and one of them called “Friends with benefits: On the positive consequences of pet ownership” found that pets provide significant social support, as well as many other physical and psychological benefits. If we translate this into an office environment, we can see that this affects workplace satisfaction, which is the basis of productivity and improved performance.
According to the American Institute of Stress, work-related stress is the major source of stress among adults. The main causes of this stress are workload and people issues. There are plenty of ways a pet-friendly office can contribute to the battle against this modern-day disease, through providing support and comfort. Pets at work also attack another common source of work-related stress: work-life balance. Having a pet in the office bridges the gap between the private life and life at work.
Many studies have researched the benefits of animal companions for one’s health. An article in Health Magazine suggests that pets improve owners’ health by reducing their blood pressure, boosting their fitness, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, relieving depression, and easing chronic pain.
Better workplace relationships
Workplace relationships can get complicated and impact overall productivity and satisfaction. The presence of pets can contribute to improving these relationships. Pets are great conversation starters, and they tend to bring people closer together.
Company attractiveness and employee retention
A pet-friendly company policy can make your company more attractive to new job candidates, especially when they belong to the generation of Millennials. Also, this convenience can increase employee retention, because many workers would rather stay in the company that allows them to bring their animal companion with them than search for another pet-friendly company, because they are still a rarity.
Should you be concerned about hygiene?
Many employers and at-home workers have concerns about maintaining proper workplace hygiene with pets around. While there are some legitimate concerns, like pet odour or the simple mess pets can cause, they can all be prevented or dealt with. The first thing you should do is to schedule regular office cleaning service and emphasize the importance of detailed upholstery washing and sanitizing the office. You can also ask your employees to do daily cleanups after their pets, as an act of goodwill.
Some preventive measures you can take
If you are planning on allowing pets into your headquarters or keeping your pet inside your home office, there are some preventive measures you can take to mitigate odours and stains. You can try to keep upholstered furniture and carpets to a minimum or you can treat them with a stain protection product to ward off damage. Good things to keep in your office are topical deodorizer and air fresheners. Also, it is useful to have an air purifier to clear the air of pet hair, dandruff and dust mites.
Establishing house rules
There is nothing like a good set of rules to keep your office clean. Each employee should be in charge of taking care of their own pet, including feeding and cleaning after them. This shouldn’t be established only as an oral agreement, but also as a set of formal company policies with clearly defined rules. This can include various situations, such as hygiene considerations, vaccination requirements and neutering guidelines. Also, it would be good to offer pet-related perks to pet owners, such as monthly grooming, dog-walking services or cat tree.
The benefits of allowing animal companionship in the workplace are numerous, and they shouldn’t be disregarded. When we compare a few small concessions that need to be made in regards to hygiene and rules with those benefits, we can see that is well worth the effort.