We are a nation that love our pets, with a survey showing that 45% of the population in the United Kingdom owned any kind of domestic creature, from cat to lizard. Animals have become an increasingly popular best friend and have now started to become our work companions too.
However, having our pet accompany us to work can have both its pros and its cons. What do you think of having your dog sit on your lap while you type away at your laptop?
Healthy for the Heart
Nestle Purina found that the 47% of the younger generation of workers, the 18-24 year olds, loved bringing their pet to work and considered it a real benefit to them and their work ethic. People were found to be happier and healthier when accompanied by their animals. Pet owners statistically have lower resting blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Having a pet can really help your heart and even stroking a dog or cat can lower cortisol levels – the hormone that causes stress.
Build Relationships and Increase Communication
Employees bringing their pets to work was found to increase communication, and broke down barriers between staff members that wouldn’t usually talk together. Having an animal to talk about really opened up the line of communication and broke the ice, meaning employees could have more collaborative conversations. This means that staff members could talk more openly with each other, giving them the opportunity to discuss potential ideas and come up with fresh thoughts for the business together.
A Mental Health Boost
Consequently, pets are also good for mental health as they can allow us to improve our social skills and self-esteem. Your dog as a starting point can help you talk to people more freely and even ask people about their pets, boosting your confidence and conversational skills.
Attract New Employees
Allowing pets in the workplace is also a great working perk and may attract new employees that love the idea of being able to bring their cat or dog to sit and work with them and retain your staff members who enjoy bringing their animals in.
The Negative Side
However, there are some negatives to allowing pets in the working environment. For example, some employees or potential staff members may be allergic to animals. This won’t only push current employees to leave, but also may put off candidates who would want to come work for you. Some people just don’t like animals either, so may be a deterrent to those who find pets unhygienic in the workplace.
There is also a big risk they may be a distraction as they dart around the office or find amusement by tearing down plants. There are more health and safety risks too as animals may become overwhelmed by the new environment and act out in a negative way.
However, having pet-friendly offices seems to be a huge benefit to both employee and animal, as the pet doesn’t get left at home all day on their own either. Productivity is increased and stress is reduced, which is an environment that’ll take a lot longer to produce if animals weren’t involved.