Pets and The Workplace
Should You be Able to take Your Pet to Work?
Dog owners have been shown to benefit from lower blood pressure and lower cholesterol than those who do not have pets. Dog owners also suffer from less health issues generally. Meanwhile animal assisted therapy is being used to help sufferers of dementia, anxiety, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Animals clearly improve our mood and our health so could they be beneficial additions to the workplace?
According to recent research by the recruitment company Reed.co.uk, roughly 8 per cent of UK companies already allow their employees to bring their pets to work. The same study also revealed that almost half of the workers surveyed felt that their performance at work would improve if their pets were present. Nestlé, the producers of Purina pet foods, are amongst the organisations which allow pets in their offices. The company believes that the pets make the working environment more warm and sociable.
Pets in the workplace encourage interaction between people as they discuss their animals and introduce each other to them. This promotes improved cooperation between colleagues and departments. Morale is generally increased which in turn boosts productivity.
Taking a few minutes to step away from a task and to interact with an animal can relieve stress in the workplace. Playing with or walking dogs encourages people to exercise more which has to be a good thing.
Allowing pets in the workplace is a benefit which companies can offer which costs nothing and yet helps workers to gain an improved work-life balance. So pets in the workplace have to be a good thing don’t they? Well, there are some potential issues.
Barking dogs and talking birds could be a major distraction and certainly wouldn’t be great in a call centre! Cats roaming free could decide to take a walk over a few keyboards and rodents might chew wires and paper if allowed out of their cages.
Then there is the fact that one in ten people are allergic to animal dander and fur. For these people, animals in the workplace could have serious health implications. Some people also have significant phobias. If you are terrified of birds, you wouldn’t want the guy on the next desk to bring his parrot to work with him!
The Right Workplaces
It probably wouldn’t be possible for large companies to allow everyone to bring their pets into work. Chaos would almost certainly reign, pets would be attacking each other and some workers would be forced to leave. However, in smaller organisations, it would be relatively simple to take each case on its merits. If everyone in the office is OK with dogs then why not allow them? If nobody has a problem with rabbits then a cute bunny could be a great addition to the office. You could even have the odd snake slithering around if everyone is comfortable with large reptiles.
If you love animals then taking your pet to work would be extremely beneficial for you and your colleagues but not if they are terrified of your little friend or are likely to be hospitalised by an allergic reaction. It is probably best to check before your furry or feathered friends pays a visit to your office.