Imagine if the monotony of a work day could be lessened by bringing along your favorite furry friends. It is becoming increasingly more common to allow dogs and other pets into the workplace. Huge companies such as Etsy, Google, and Amazon allow their employees to bring their pets to work. Many pet-centric companies, such as Purina, have been doing this for years as well. If you’re thinking about working for a company that allows pets in the office or if you are thinking about adding a pet policy to your business, first you should check out this list of pros and cons of bringing pets to the office. While the affection of our furry friends is pretty much the best thing ever, there are some considerations to keep in mind.
Pro: Pets remind us that we need to take breaks sometimes.
When you’re caring for a dog, you become very aware of their needs for food and bathroom breaks, and this can lead to great perks like regularly-scheduled walks around the block. Often employees will ignore their basic needs in order to continue working. Having a pet to feed and nurture, reminds workers that they may need a snack and a break, too. Employees who listen to their bodies and take regular time to stretch out and care for themselves are able to perform better at their jobs, too.
On the other side of the coin, you may be working on a problem and nearing a solution when Fido starts to paw at you and turn around in circles, letting you know he has to go out. To leave your projects sitting around and then not being able to remember where you left off when you return can be a real problem. You may begin missing deadlines or leaving out important details that you would have otherwise included if you hadn’t been interrupted.
Pro: Improvements in employee satisfaction and morale
Employees are more relaxed when there are animals around. This 2012 study found that employees who brought their animals with them to the workplace had decreased levels of stress hormones compared to people who did not bring their pets. People who did not bring their pets experienced higher levels of stress at work. Not only do animals decrease stress at work for people, but allowing employees to bring their dogs to work also eliminates costs for the employees who may be paying for doggie daycare or a dog walking business.
Con: Hiring people with allergies or who are afraid of animals.
There could be a lot of legal trouble that happens if you refuse to hire a person because they’re severely allergic to cats or who are afraid of dogs. If there are people in your office that have severe allergies to animals and/ or have phobias of certain animals, then it will be necessary to create a safe area to prevent them from interacting with the animals. That may become a hassle over time, and you may risk losing employees with great talent who do not want to work in the presence of animals all day.
Pro: Employee turnover and performance
Companies that allow pets into the workplace often have lower levels of employee turnover. In addition, people want to show up for work! There are fewer absences reported and people are even more willing to work longer hours. Since the dogs are already running around the office, no employee is rushing home to let their dogs out.
Con: Potential for damage and legal issues
There are some legal issues that you will have to worry about as well. In the event a dog bites or trips an employee or customer, you could be dealing with a liability lawsuit. It is also possible that a pet may cause permanent damage, by breaking important items or having an accident somewhere that is potentially dangerous.
Bringing pets to work comes down to each individual’s preference. As the owner of a company, these pros and cons should be something you factor into making the decision to allow pets or not. As an employee who wants to work in an environment with animals, it is a definite yes. However, if you have found your dream job but you’re afraid of dogs, then you must first discuss options with your employer that will allow you to work safely away from the office terrier.