Consider Overall Benefits to Employer and Employee Relations
There have been several studies researching the effects of having pets in the office. Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) partnered with Nationwide to survey 2,000 people who work in companies of over 100 people and primarily in office environments about their mental health, physical health, and experience with pets at work.
One of the key findings of the study was that 90% of employees in pet friendly offices felt highly connected to their company’s mission, were fully engaged with their work, and also willing to recommend their employer to others. Compared with less than 65% of employees in non-pet friendly workplaces making the same claims.
For more key findings, visit the full results from HABRI. They also discussed employee retention, attracting new employees, working relationships, and presenteeism.
A recent Pet Voices LIVE also covered the Benefits Pets at Work with Steven Feldman, Executive Director of HABRI. Check it out for even more coverage of the results.
Follow Examples from the “Best Dog-Friendly Companies”
Rover.com ranked dog-friendly companies last year – 2019 – and provided insight into if there were other pet friendly benefits like pet time off, a pet stipend, or other onsite amenities and perks. Comparing your business or company to these might give you some ideas about whether or not it would be a great benefit or more of a hassle.
Set Guidelines and Policies
The love of a pet is often so simple, but unfortunately introducing pets into the workplace isn’t quite as simple. Before you actually let pets come to work, there’s a list of questions you’ll want to ask and consider.
- What type of pets should be allowed? Are there any restrictions?
- Are pets allowed every day? Or only certain days? Or are dogs allowed on Tuesdays and cats on Wednesdays?
- Who will implement and enforce the policies? Do you need a committee for that?
- What vaccinations are required?
- What qualifications are needed around health, behavior, and training?
- What happens if there is damage or an injury? Who is responsible?
- What happens if a pet is disruptive or distressed?
- Are there any places pets aren’t permitted? Restrooms? Meetings?
- How will any other issues or grievances be addressed?
Starting with a Trial Period
For big changes, it’s never a bad idea to try it out for a set period of time before committing to a new policy altogether. It also gives you a period of time to learn, grow, and adjust your policies based on how the initial period actually played out. Just make sure that everyone involved knows that it is a trial period and there is a chance it won’t continue after that period.
Poll the Office
If you’re in HR or manage an office environment, perhaps the real starting point is opening up the discussion with current employees. An online survey is a great and inexpensive way to start.
- Do they even want to bring their pets to the office?
- Is anyone severely allergic to dogs, cats, or another pet?
- What kind of pets do they have?
- Do they want that ability every day or only a few days a week?
- Is there another pet related benefit that they’d prefer like pet insurance, pet related time off (health, bereavement, etc.), or the ability to work from home?
- If the office does become pet friendly, then what do they assume or expect that to mean?
- Are there other benefits that are needed such as pet sitting during important meetings or an outdoor dog park?
Consider Both Pros and Cons
Make a list or whatever other tool is easiest for you and your team to examine all the pros and cons that affect your company and office environment. If you need help thinking of either pros or cons, check out these articles that have perspectives from both sides.
- Paw-some or Cat-astrophic? Pros and Cons of Office Pets – Business News Daily
- Pros and Cons of Allowing Pets at Work – HR Daily Advisor
- Pets in the Workplace Benefit Work-Life Balance – USC Master of Science in Applied Psychology
What are your thoughts at office pets? Do you currently work with your pets? Share below!