February 25, 2018, by Ryan O’Quinn
Does Your Workplace Employ a Pet-Friendly Policy?
If your pet was allowed to accompany you to work each day or on designated days, would you bring him/her along? Why or why not? In this post, I’m referring specifically to dogs. My apologies in advance to all cat owners reading this. Most dog owners I know personally or have talked to at some point or another would jump at the opportunity.
Living in the Bay Area—especially Silicon Valley to San Francisco — the trend of pet-friendly workplaces has gained lots of popularity. And the number of companies joining suit are on the rise. Tech companies like Google (Alphabet), Zynga, Facebook, VMWare, Salesforce and Etsy (San Franciso office) are where you hear stories about a dog-themed cafe called Yoshka, inspired by Google’s employee #8, Urs Hölzle. Or, there’s Boo, the famously cute Pomeranian with his own Facebook page that has over 18 million likes. This famous dog belongs to Facebook employee, Irene Ahn.
So, what’s all the hype behind dog-friendly offices? Well, recent research shows the scores of benefits created by these environments. The benefits can be twofold, meaning beneficial for the employees and the company itself. Though there certainly may be complications that come along with introducing animals into your office space, in most cases the benefits FAR outweigh the difficulties. Below are ten important benefits of a pet-friendly workplace.
1. Overall Improved Workplace Morale
Having pets in the workplace has been shown to greatly improve employee morale. Wagging tails around the office increase happiness levels, helping workers to feel more content at work.
2. Increased Employee Retention
Though pet-friendly workplaces are becoming more common, they still aren’t the norm. Many employees who enjoy bringing their pets to work prefer to stay with companies that enable them to do so.
3. Stress Reduction
Studies have shown that having pets in the workplace has helped to reduce employee stress levels without negatively impacting productivity levels.
4. Improved Work/Life Balance
Bringing pets to work helps employees to improve their work/life balance. Having an animal companion in the office can be a great way to bridge the gap between life at home and life at work.
5. Improved Employee Health
Studies have shown that pets can have surprising positive impacts on overall health. From helping to reduce stress to improving blood pressure, pets – specifically dogs – in the workplace can help to improve overall employee health. Other studies have shown dog owners to have improved immune function.
6. Increased Employee Activity & Exercise
Having pets in the workplace encourages employees to get away from their desks and move around throughout the day. Most people tend to bring their dogs to work and no matter the weather outside or the workload inside, bathroom breaks and short walks keep their humans active.
7. Improved Company Culture
Pets in the workplace tend to improve the atmosphere around the office and enhance the company culture overall. Having pets at work makes the office feel more like home for employees, which makes it easier for them to want to come to work. This, in turn, benefits the company as employees tend to mind less if they need to stay late.
8. Added Employee Convenience
Full-time employees with pets constantly need to balance caring for their pets with their work schedules. Allowing pets in the workplace simplifies the lives of pet owners and makes pet ownership more convenient.
9. Improved Work Relationships and Collaboration
Pets tend to bring people together. They are great conversation starters and can encourage healthy, productive relationships, collaboration and socialization among employees. Let’s face it. You may not have much in common with the person in the next cubicle, but dogs being around can change that quickly.
10. Attractiveness to Talented Employees
Many in-demand applicants in the market for a new job are looking for forward-thinking companies who offer benefits like pet-friendly workplaces. Pet-friendliness is a unique attribute that can help set companies apart from others for applicants and potential new hires.
And, if you’re not sold on the idea yet, here are a few statistics on pet-friendly office environments:
- 53 percent of employees who currently work at a company that is not pet-friendly were “more likely” to stay with their company if it allowed them to bring their pets to the office. Sixty-three percent of HR decision-makers at companies without pet-friendly policies would be more likely to stay if the policy changed to be pet-friendly.
- 82 percent of employees and 91 percent of HR decision makers said that allowing pets in the workplace would make employees more loyal to the company.
- Employee reports of improved morale (88 percent), reduced stress (86 percent), and increased productivity (67 percent) have been documented as a result of pet-friendly policies.
With all the benefits and positive data listed above, implementing a pet-friendly workplace or office still requires a good deal of planning. For example, different colored leashes (provided by the company) to indicate whether a dog is more relaxed and friendly around other dogs and humans, versus dogs that may be more skittish or timid are a good idea.
Another factor that needs to be considered is designated potty and/or relief areas. Having a strategy in place before going live with a pet-friendly workplace program is an integral component in planning. Will there be pet waste stations set up in predetermined areas? Will the pets-at-work program be long or short-term? Depending on the answer, different solutions will be necessary. Does your company need help in implementing a pet-friendly workplace? If so, we can help!
We partnered with McAfee in the launch of their pets-at-work program in the summer of 2017. The goal of their program was to get more employees into the office instead of working remotely. The program has seen much success thus far. Whatever the reason be for implementing a pets-at-work policy, a strategy needs to be in place. With a little planning, both employees and company can reap the rewards and benefits of a pet-friendly workplace.