Holly Patrick of The Conversation, a news and analysis website, noted that bringing pet dogs in the office is becoming more ubiquitous. Large corporations such as Google, Monzo, and Ticketmaster joined other firms in the pet sector that permits workers to bring their dogs to the workplace. In smart offices, the canines are labeled as a “must-have accessory.”
Having pets at work may be appealing for both employees and employers; however, if companies that do not allow pets plan to become pet-friendly, they would have to conduct a survey among their existing employees and listen to their thoughts, recommended Teresa Marzolph, people strategist and founder of Culture Engineered, quoted Sammi Caramela of Business News Daily, a resource for small business owners.
Surveys Illuminate Pet-Friendly Perks and the Benefits of Having a Pet-Friendly Workplace
Online job marketplace ZipRecruiter involved 3,000 job applicants and 200 employers in their survey, finding that having a pet at work is positive among 45% of job seekers, reported Diane Herbst of People, a celebrity and human interest news website.
Employers (10%) also believed that their company would be pet-friendly in five years. 30% of job seekers stated that it was very important or somewhat important for their employer to allow pets at work. 12% of employers allowed pets in the office and pet insurance as a benefit increased by 50%, according to the survey.
The top bet benefits mentioned by the job seekers were pet-friendly offices, pet insurance, and remote work options. Pet parents were also eager to sacrifice non-pet benefits to have their loyal companions in the workplace. Some of these perks included free snacks (41%), catered meals (30%), employee discounts (18%), one paid vacation day (17%), 1% of their gross salary (7%), and performance bonus (3%).
With regard to getting pet insurance as a health benefit, job seekers were willing to give up free snacks (40%), catered meals (32%), one paid vacation day (25%), employee discounts (20%), 1% of their gross salary (10%), and performance bonus (3%). In a 2016 survey by Banfield Pet Hospital, a provider of the best preventive pet health, 88% of 1,006 employees and 91% of 200 HR DMs said having pets in the workplace improves employee morale and 86% and 93% of these groups also believed that pets affect an employee’s sense of well-being.
86% of employees and 92% of HR DMs believed that having pets in the office reduces one’s guilt about leaving pets at home, so as those who answered that it reduces stress for workers (86% and 92%). 85% of employees and 91% of HR DMs also believed that allowing pets in the office promotes a greater work-life balance.
53% of employees and 63% of HR DMs from non-pet friendly workplaces said they were more likely to stay with their company if it allowed them to bring their pets to the office. Further, 79% of HR DMs from pet-friendly workplaces answered often when asked how often their pet-friendly workplace policy is proactively discussed as a potential benefit when recruiting employees, 79% of HR DMs from pet-friendly workplaces answered often. 65% of HR DMs from pet-friendly workplace said potential candidates often ask about pet-friendly workplace policies during the interview process.
25% of HR DMs in pet-friendly workplaces and 56% of those from non-friendly workplaces said it was difficult to establish a pet-friendly workplace policy. Meanwhile, 22% of non-pet owning employees and 39% of pet-owning employees in non-pet-friendly workplaces said they would consider adding another pet to their household if their company permitted them to bring pets to work.
What Kind of Pets Are Allowed In the Workplace?
An office cat or dog might be the animals that come to your mind when you think of workplace pets. Unfortunately, cats or dogs are not necessarily the best choice for offices. In fact, a freshwater fish might be a better alternative than felines or canines.
But ones’s perception of a “best pet” is subjective as it depends on certain factors such as noise and lighting levels of your workplace, including how traditional or formal it is. Fish usually require less maintenance and care than dogs or cat, but cleaning the tank once a week entails lost hours. When considering an office pet, employees and employers should consider more about the animal’s behavior rather than its species.
For example, a cat that jumps and relaxes on the keyboard is cute, but that might mean productivity loss for employees. Dogs might be needier and noisier but an older canine that sleeps close to a person’s feet the whole day rather than barking might make a better pet than a hyperactive feline. Having cats in the office also means having to clean its litter box once a day. Rabbits, guinea pigs, or turtles make great pets if your desk or cubicle has enough room for a cage. These animals can be less disruptive, but you will most likely have to clean their cages daily. Overall, the type of pets that are allowed in the office should be narrowed down and companies should consider the pros and cons of each one.
Establishing Pet Policies
It is critical for employers to get their employees’ feedback about allowing them to bring pets to the office, according to Patti Perez, an employment attorney with Ogletree Deakins, cited Lisa Rabasca Roepe of SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), a professional human resources membership association. For example, some people don’t like pets or have them in the office. Others might be allergic to or not fond of pets, which can ignite conflict among colleagues and or be involved in legal issues, said Emmi Buck, public information specialist for Pierce County, Washington.
Everyone’s voice must be heard and if the feedback is mixed, companies can try allowing their workers to bring pets once a week or month. Robbie Eddison, a service desk manager at Softchoice Corp., emphasized, “Bringing a dog to work is a privilege, not a right.” There are instances when smaller firms become pet-friendly by accident after one or two individuals bring their dogs to the office, with other employees jumping on the bandwagon.
This is what happened when CEO of Arkansas Business Publishing Group Olivia Farrell brought her Labrador retriever to the office each day, according to Page. Farrell stated, “The generally tacit agreement [was] that your dog is friendly, housebroken, well-mannered and gets along well with others.”
Keeping the Office Spic and Span
No one wants their office to smell like a pet store or become unsanitary because of pets. Extra hair might be a nuisance for cleaning staff and for those who prefer a tidy office, Buck noted. Even if the animals are potty trained, there is a possibility that they might vomit, fall sick, or make a mess. Both employers and workers should keep the office clean and sanitized, and the former should be receptive to feedback.
Companies may choose to allow pets in the office, but they should listen to their employees before doing so for feedback and concerns. The office must be kept clean and the type of pet must not cause disruptions in the workplace if companies institute pet-friendly policies.