Pets in the Workplace: Chaos or Calm?
There is still much uncertainty about a return to the workplace, what it will look like and how it will work. Will it be full-time or part-time? Is it safe? How long will it last? Will there be another lockdown? In the midst of this crazy ol’ world we live in right now, perhaps the need to focus on workplace wellness is more important than ever.
So what can employers do to reassure their employees and create an inviting work environment? Maybe having pets in the office is an idea worth entertaining.
Studies have shown that having animals around can be beneficial from a health and wellness perspective and this holds true for the workplace as well. Bringing a pet to the office can boost employee morale, reduce stress, improve job satisfaction, enhance team-building and even promote physical activity.
‘Bring your pet to work’ is not a new concept. Businesses of all sizes, including large employers like Amazon and Google, have been welcoming pets to the workplace for years and more and more employers are seeing pet-friendly policies as a way to create and maintain healthy workplace culture. Pet-friendly policies are now being seen as a hiring perk and organizations that embrace these policies are attracting and retaining happier, healthier employees.
For humans and their four-legged friends, the office closures and business lockdowns that occurred as a result of COVID-19 turned into a mutually beneficial arrangement. All of a sudden, pets had someone home with them all day while their owners no longer had to worry about the care and feeding of their beloved animals on workdays. Our furry friends became invaluable companions, especially during the lockdown when isolation and loneliness were real concerns.
For others, the pandemic was the perfect opportunity to welcome a pet into the family. Working from home afforded pet owners the time to focus on raising and training their new additions. We rescued them and, in turn, they rescued us.
As the economy starts to recover and businesses are returning to more normal operations, things are in upheaval all over again. In addition to the stress that many may feel about the safety of being back in the workplace, there are additional concerns about what to do with these furry companions that become so accustomed to having their humans around or have never been on their own.
Introducing a pet-friendly policy is one way that employers may be able to address and/or alleviate the stressors associated with a return to the workplace. Pets in the workplace could even help your staff reconnect and rebuild the relationships that COVID-19 disrupted two years ago. Who can resist interacting with that cute furry little face looking up at you?
Although the benefits are undeniable, animals in the workplace may not be the answer for every business and any organization thinking of allowing pets to come to work should proceed carefully. Issues of concern include, but are not limited to the following:
- Is there anyone with an allergy, phobia, or dislike of animals?
- How can they be accommodated?
- Does there need to be a designated pet-free area?
- Do HEPA filters need to be implemented?
- Should there be limits on the number of animals in the workplace at any one time?
- Should there be restrictions on the size or age of any animal allowed to come to work?
- How will disruptive or aggressive animals be dealt with?
- What if someone gets bitten?
- If there is a fight between 2 animals, who pays the vet bills?
- How often does bedding need to be cleaned and pet hair gets vacuumed?
- Who is responsible for any damage caused by the animal?
- What is the procedure for addressing ‘accidents’?
A collaborative document outlining the rules, restrictions, and repercussions with input from everyone is an excellent way to make sure all the voices in your workplace are heard and ensure your pet-friendly policy will succeed.
Clearly, there is plenty to take into consideration if you are going to open your workplace to pets but the rewards in terms of employee morale, production and engagement can make it all worthwhile.
Want to know what keeps us grounded, all you really have to do is walk into a BCL office on any given day and you may find your answer.
It all started with a black cocker spaniel named Sneakers. She was such a hit when she came to work that she became the first in a long line of pets that have routinely made their daytime home at BCL offices over the past 34 years, including Simon the Superdog, Daisy the Mail Carrier, Toby the Mail Shredder, Murphy the IT Expert Network Cable Chewer and ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’ the Princess of Everything!
Meet the Pets of BCL!
If you would like more information on pet policies or how our arrangement works, you can contact us directly at [email protected], [email protected], by phone, at 1-844-377-9545 or you can connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.