Many of us that work remotely or in a hybrid setting are accustomed to working in the same environment as our pets. In fact, more than 23 million American households adopted a pet during the pandemic, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
With in-office work having returned, some are now anxious about leaving their pets at home. This has seen many companies develop pet-friendly policies for their office spaces, including big names such as Amazon, Google, Airbnb, and Salesforce.
So, if your organization is currently a pet-free zone, should you consider welcoming our furry- (and possibly even our feathered- and scaly-) friends into the workplace?
On the plus side, a study by LiveCareer found that 94% of people were supportive of having pets in the workplace – and 52% of respondents cited pet-friendly benefits and policies as important when considering an employer.
In addition, studies have found that when people are engaged in petting either dogs or cats their stress levels are reduced. It has also been discovered that when people interacted with dogs, their ability to think, plan, and concentrate was enhanced. And what was even more interesting to note was that this effect lasted up to six-weeks after contact!
Pets also offer a sense of emotional support for employees; in research conducted by the University of York and the University of Lincoln, it was discovered that pets help reduce stress because they tend to be tuned into humans and so can successfully supply emotional support. There is also the added element of increased connectivity amongst staff, as having pets at the office means people are more likely to get to know each other with their pets acting as an icebreaker.
However, employers must take into account certain factors before introducing pet-friendly polices into their workplaces. For example, there may be one or multiple members of the team who have allergies to certain animals, and some may find certain animals frightening.
So, whilst it is clear that for the most part a pet-friendly workplace improves productivity and mental wellbeing, any shared spaces must still meet the needs of every employee.
If you would like to discuss how we can help you design pet-friendly policies in your workplace, please get in touch with us on our contact page!