If you haven’t noticed lately the work place is starting to change. No more are businesses and companies following an old school model of a bunch of people sitting in cubicles grinding until the dial hits 5:00 PM only to wake up and do it all over again the next day. The workplace is becoming more open, more collaborative, and more engaging than ever. Workers are no longer looking at their clocks constantly because their environment has given them more of a reason to stay. As a result, productivity has increased and stress levels are decreasing. One of those reasons is allowing pets in the workplace. Employers and employees alike are praising the advantages and benefits of the growing trend that allows pets in the workplace even if its just one day a week. Some businesses even have a company dog that hangs around the office all the time just for enjoyment or a camel on Wednesdays to celebrate ‘Hump Day’ if you work at Zappos.
Times are changing and so is the workplace. Many studies have shown that employees who bring their dogs to the office produced lower levels of cortisol, which is a stress-causing hormone inside the body. The workplace isn’t the first time I have seen this method to reduce stress. I originally noticed the trend back when I was in college. The school would bring in rescued pets during finals to help relieve stress and to take a break from studying. There’s nothing like rubbing the ear of a chocolate Labrador to go from stressed to relieved in seconds. The cheerfulness of a dog is infectious. From a business owner’s perspective, reducing stress in your work environment is crucial for productivity. It’s no secret that unhappy employees produce lower quality work than those who are generally happier. Pets are a cheap and effective way of increasing that happiness. When you look into the eyes of a pet, your worries and deadlines seem to fade, but your focus increases. This is because you’re no longer stressed out about the next step. You now become more creative and you actually spend more time in the office than you anticipated. Research has proven that companies who allow pets in the office see employees are willing to work longer hours and the number of absences has decreased. Employees are given more of a reason to be at work because there’s more than just a friendly face waiting for you at the office, there’s also a wagging tail. Another benefit to pets in the workplace is that they promote camaraderie. Pets can show how much alike you are to a fellow coworker. For example that guy Joe in billing you didn’t like before also has a love for Great Danes. Because of this new commonality you and Joe are now working together on a project that increases efficiency between two departments.
The benefits of having a pet in the workplace are endless. However, keep in mind there are some limitations to consider. Pet’s in the workplace should be carefully thought out and planned ahead especially if there’s an employee with a serious pet allergy, or if your pet has special limitations such as not being vaccinated. Also, it’s hard to believe but not every person loves pets like the rest of us. If you’re going to allow pets in the workplace, it may be important to put a restriction on the types of pets allowed and declaring a pet free zone for those who may have allergies or fears. Be sure to have a set a ground rules in place before you go all out and recommend this to your Human Resources department. Nevertheless, if you want to increase work capacity while also reducing stress levels in the office, then you need to reconsider your policy on pets in the office. Everyone needs a mental break, and what better way to do so than having a pet in the workplace.