The Pawsitive Effects of Animal-Friendly Workplaces

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My office is a zoo, and I don’t mean that in a “my phone is constantly ringing, I never know what’s going on” manner (although that often applies too). I mean my office is literally home to a handful of crazy animals. From Marg the Cat (my trusty personal assistant), to Pepper the Dog (she works security), and finally, Stevie the Lizard (he mostly acts as a paperweight), there are three times as many animals in my office then there are people. And honestly, I wouldn’t want it any other way. Having pets in the office helps keep me sane – and I’m not the only one who thinks this way. More and more companies are embracing animal-friendly workplaces and enjoying the benefits of four-legged business companions.

Eliminate Stress with an Animal Assistant

Research studies by companies like Purina indicated that having a pet in the workplace is not only entertaining, but also beneficial both in terms of productivity and employee well-being. Not only will your employees be happier, but it’s believed that they’ll also work harder and stay on task longer when pets are a permanent part of the workplace. What’s more, pet’s are proven stress relievers. The American Centre for Disease Control has identified a long list of health benefits associated with owning a pet, including reduced heart rate and blood pressure, reduced heart attack rate, lowered cholesterol levels, and decreased anxiety. There’s just something about a wet nose pushing against your elbow, or a fuzzy tail flicking across your computer screen that makes you feel good.

Pet at Work Policies

Pet at work policies are becoming more and more common in forward-thinking workspaces across North America. Some pet-friendly workplaces include Google, Procter & Gamble’s Pet Care division, Wonderware Inc., and Diversified Technical Solutions. So how can you institute a pet at work policy in your workplace? It starts with rules. Ask your employer or employees about their thoughts on a pet-friendly office; check to make sure that everyone is comfortable with the idea, and discuss any possible issues right up front. Consider your workplace environment (if it’s an urban office, where will the dogs go for their bathroom breaks?), and industry (a restaurant really isn’t the place for Mr. Whiskers). Make sure that you:

  • Allow only sociable and properly vaccinated pets into the office.
  • Encourage employees to keep their pets on a lead to prevent them from wandering.
  • Restrict areas where dogs can roam (bathrooms and kitchens should always be off-limits).
  • Take the pet’s comfort into consideration. Make sure that your employees understand that they should bring toys and treats with them in order to keep their pet preoccupied and pleasant.

My pets are like my children, and I know that when the day comes for me to open an office outside of my home, it will be virtually impossible to leave them locked up in a kennel alone for an 8+ hour workday. Instituting a pet at work policy will help ensure that my four-legged friends (and my two-legged colleagues) are happy, healthy, and excited to come to work.

Originally Posted at She Takes on the World.