Pets in the Workplace, Our Take on this Rising Trend!
Our 2 and a half year old Froston (Frenchie/Boston mix), Walter, is in our office almost every day. In fact, he’s earned himself an official title here at Airvet - Head of Security. When he’s not there, his absence is felt by everyone. There’s nobody there begging for treats at your feet or a tiny soft warm body to pet as he sleeps curled up on your lap while you answer emails or write code. He’s our office dog...well, at least our first one. He’s part of the team. In 2019 it’s probably harder to find an office that is not pet friendly than to find one that is. Companies like Facebook, Amazon, and the like have all jumped on board the pet friendly train. There are actually quite a few benefits to having a pet friendly workplace, which continues to grow like crazy in popularity. However, not every pet is right for the workplace and not every workplace is right for a pet. It’s good to know what’s what.
Stress relief for employees: No shocker here, but pets provide a phenomenal way for us to reduce our stress levels at work. Being able to unglue our eyes from our many screens at work and spend a few minutes throwing a ball outside or taking a walk with a pet can be a great outlet to unwind a bit when employees start feeling overwhelmed. Even just having Walter on my lap when firing off hundreds of emails a day helps me feel calm and happy. There is a real soothing effect that pets can have on people - literally! There have been studies that pets can actually help you be healthier, more active, and even lower your blood pressure!
The social side: Who can resist walking up to a cute fluffy dog and saying hi!? While probably not the core reason people bring their pets to work, it’s a great side effect! It’s always nice meeting new people in the office or talking to peers that you may not talk to much or even work in the same department as. It can help with collaboration, team building, and overall team cohesion. It may sound a little far fetched, but bring your own pooch into the office and see if someone you don’t normally talk to comes up or passes by you and strikes up a conversation about your little furball.
Less missed time/days of work: This is a big one. Leaving work to go home and walk or feed your pets takes time! Probably more than you’d think when you add it all up. And when they’re sick, even more. When one of my french bulldogs is sick, it’s hard to go to work and leave him at home...especially when he’s in the “cone of shame.” What if something happens while I’m gone? What if he gets sneaky and figured out how to get his cone or wrap off and begins chewing or itching where he shouldn’t. What if he has an accident (throw up or… you know) on the rug? I’d be anxious all day at work without him running through all the possible scenarios. It’s easier to take the day off and either work from home or take him to the vet. Bringing him to work during these times always helps me feel better. I can stay a lot more focused at work. Also, having an app, like Airvet of course, I can connect virtually with my veterinarian in minutes from work if he gets worse or something goes wrong. No need to rush out at lunch to go to the hospital. During these times, employees like me are more focused, more productive, and definitely a lot more calm.
Making sure your workplace and your pet are a good fit: While there are clearly some incredible benefits to a pet-friendly workplace, there also has to be a good match between the pet and the workplace. If you have a dog who barks a lot and is extremely excitable by things at the office, i.e. cars driving by, sounds, TV, etc., your pet may become more of a distraction for you and others than anything. Or, if your dog doesn’t always get along great with other dogs and there’s constant bickering in the office between dogs (or their owners) as a result, you may find it more trouble than it’s worth! Additionally, if you have people in your work area who are severely allergic to pets, it can pose a real problem. So, before bringing your pet to work or deciding if a pet-friendly work environment is right for your company, it’s important to think through all the pros and the cons. There are solutions to most of these cons, like designated areas for pets, etc. but it’s important to acknowledge them nonetheless. Because, when it works, it’s one of the best things to be able to have and to offer employees to enjoy!