They’re loyal, dependable and capable of bringing a smile to even the sternest of faces - what if pets are the real employees of the month after all? As 3.2million pets were adopted over lockdown in the UK, many leading businesses are now taking flexible working to the next level by introducing paw-ternity leave and allowing employees to bring furry friends into the office.
Allowing pets at the office is a cost-effective benefit that can bring joy to your workplace in leaps and bounds. In a recent survey by EssentialHR, 60% of employees said that they love having pets in the workplace. Here, we look at the positives of having cats, dogs, house rabbits and maybe even the odd hamster at work and how to make sure they feel right at home at HQ…
Paw-sitive vibes only
They bring great mental health benefits
Whether it’s a quick cuddle before a stressful pitch or a walk at lunchtime ahead of a busy afternoon, it’s clear that being in the company of a pet can be a great way of calming nerves, alleviating stress and elevating positive emotions. Research shows that groups of people in the presence of a dog will display “better verbal cohesion and higher ratings of trustworthiness to fellow group members”.
Enhancing the team bond
After spending so long working from home solo, it’s important to find different ways to re-ignite connections within the team post-pandemic - especially for those who are new to the team or joined during lockdown. Pups are a great ice-breaker and will kick start the water-cooler chat we missed so much.
A welcome distraction
When working from home and the office, it’s all too easy to forget to take regular breaks - which are so important for a healthy, balanced and productive working day. Having pets in the office encourages people to have a quick screen break, get up and move even just for a five minute pat and go.
You give pet owners get more flexibility
Particularly for new pet parents it can be difficult to leave pets at home. Dogs in particular can suffer from separation anxiety when left alone. But allowing your people to bring pets to the office makes them feel less worried, resulting in improved productivity - guaranteed to keep everyone’s tails wagging!
Implementing your new office paw-licy
Now, the question is, what do you need to consider when creating a Pets at Work policy?
1. Not everyone loves pets - so the first step is to survey your team and any visitors to your office - for allergies or fears before you start letting four legs into the office.
2. Check with your building management / landlord to make sure pets are allowed and that the environment is suitable for animals.
3. `Health and safety of your people should be number one, so ensure that any pets are trained and have the right insurance cover.
4. You may wish to include a schedule for pet visits (so it’s not completely raining cats and dogs!) and guidelines on how they should behave when visiting the office.
Check you’re following the government’s guidance here.
And that’s the rundown! Has that given you food (or dog biscuits) for thought? Will you be adding a pet-friendly policy to your office anytime soon? We’d love to know your thoughts!