It should come as no surprise that people love their pets. In Australia alone, 83% of the population has had a pet at some point, and in America, 9 in 10 people say that they consider their pets a part of the family.
Workplaces all over the world are taking notice. Indeed, it’s become a growing trend among companies to offer perks such as the ability to bring your pet to work as well as special incentives like pet insurance. Some of the most popular companies in these ranks include: Amazon, Etsy, Bissell, and Google.
So what are the benefits of converting your workplace into one that’s pet-friendly?
- Stress Reduction
Workplace stress—something we’ve blogged about extensively here at Shaping Change—is a global epidemic. Approximately 40% of employees experience persistent stress or excessive anxiety on a daily basis in the workplace. Countless studies, however, have shown that interacting with animals can dramatically decrease stress in humans. This is one of the reasons why the popular web hosting service, GoDaddy, allows pets in their offices.
An article at Fortune Magazine says this: “At GoDaddy, dogs are part of the company’s resources to help its employees care for their mental health. [GoDaddy] provides employees with free on-site appointments with psychologists, and several of them have adopted dogs as assistants. These canine companions help reduce stress and anxiety, and are treated as part of the company.” As a result, the ability to have pets in the workplace decreases employee absenteeism due to stress or poor health, improves employee retention, and helps people to derive more happiness and fulfillment from their work.
- Peace of Mind
Many pet parents aren’t particularly fond of the idea of leaving their beloved, four-legged friend at home for eight hours a day, and with good reason. Dogs especially can suffer from separation anxiety when left along for extended periods of time, which can impact their health and happiness, and the lack of mental stimulation for so many hours a day can depress any animal. This understandably weighs heavily on pet parents in the workplace who worry about being away from their animals for so long.
By allowing pets in the workplace, however, companies effectively remove the guilt and worry and allow an employee to focus 100% of their attention on their work. Of particular note: it allows employees to stay in the office longer in order to meet important deadlines, which means more work is ultimately getting done and it’s getting done on a quicker timeline.
- Better Physical & Emotional Health
Pet-friendly workplaces encourage employees to take more regular breaks—something that’s essential for boosting productivity and creativity. Sitting in front of a computer all day doesn’t help employees come up with creative solutions to problems, and yet people often need to be reminded to step away from their desk for a few minutes each day to give their minds a break. When their pet is beside them, however, employees are more likely to step outside for fresh air if only to give their furry friend a nice walk.
As for emotional health, pet-friendly workplaces have reported higher interaction and collaboration between employees. Perhaps this is because it gives employees a common ground and demonstrates the many shared interests they have. In fact, Google has a special club called ‘Dooglers’ specifically for dog-loving employees, which helps to build community. There’s even a dog-themed café at headquarters, where employees can interact alongside their pooches.
Why is this important? Countless companies spend millions of dollars every year on team-building exercises in order to improve cohesion among employees. When we work better together, there’s a boost in morale and productivity, and we achieve more. Pet-friendly workplaces are able to achieve just that…without spending a dime!
- Greater Loyalty
According to an infographic, 2/3 of employees and 3/4 of HR decision makers from pet-friendly workplaces say they would be more likely to continue working for their company if they were to implement a pet-friendly policy. In fact, millennials make up the largest segment of pet owners, and they’re especially known for making job decisions based on perks and incentives. To attract millennials, it would therefore behoove a company to offer pet-friendly perks.
When pet parents feel that their animals are acknowledged as a part of their family and as a valued part of the company as well, they feel a greater sense of pride in and loyalty to their company. In other words, pet-friendly workplaces can improve employee retention. Plus, considering the amount of people allowed to bring their pet to work is still very small, implementing a pet-friendly policy could give your company a competitive edge.
The benefits of implementing pet-friendly workplaces are clearly many, and they all point to one unmistakable fact: being around their pets makes a person healthier, and a healthier employee makes for better work quality, better productivity, greater loyalty to a company, and an improved sense of well-being that boosts morale and has a positive impact in countless areas.
You may very well want to consider ‘going to the dogs’ in this capacity. Even designating one day a week or month when employees can bring their pets to work is sure to reap many benefits.
In our next blog, we’ll discuss how you can get started with making your workplace pet-friendly, things to consider in the process (employees with animal allergies or phobias), and ways you can still be pet-friendly even if welcoming pets in the workplace isn’t feasible for your company. Stay tuned!