You consider your office a great place to work. You’ve given great benefits to your employees, you have the occasional beer cart Fridays, and last month you even broke the bank on an epic CNY party. Now you’ve heard about this trend of bringing pets to work and you aren’t sure if you should join in.
Like any new office program, there are benefits and drawbacks you need to consider before pressing send on that company-wide email inviting those furry companions.
We’ve put together a list of things for you to consider to help you make your decision.
There have been studies that prove owning a pet is good for your health. For starters, having a pet can help lower blood pressure and hypertension, and owning a dog means venturing outdoors for walks at least twice a day (rain or shine!). Plus, who can forget about the pleasure in cuddling and playing with a cute furry friend?
With all of the great benefits, you’ll need to remember there are many people who are allergic to animals. Bringing a pet into the office when someone is allergic can be detrimental to their health and their productivity. Imagine coming into work every day and getting a stuffed nose, sore throat, stomach ache, or constant watery eyes? Doesn’t sound too fun does it? Before bringing pets into the workplace you need to survey your employees and make sure no one has any allergies.
Simply put, pets are expensive. Now we aren’t saying you should be covering medication and veterinary bills should, but there are little expenses you need to consider. Making sure there are toys in the office is a good place to start. This will keep your office pet occupied for those times that employees actually need to get some work done (kidding, they should be doing this all day).
A few other essentials will also need to be purchased for the office: a bed or mat, food and water bowls, treats, and of course the food. All of these can add up. You will need to figure out whose responsibility this is before inviting pets into the workplace; the pet owners or the office?
Safety may not be top of mind when considering if you want to bring pets into the workplace but it is something important. If you work in an environment where food is being served or a hazardous environment like a construction or mining site, bringing a pet may not be the best idea. Dogs, cats, ferrets, pigs, etc. can be dangerous at these sites for you or your customers.
If an employee brings an ill-behaved pet into the office, you could be dealing with worse things than spilled coffee. Legally, your company could be held responsible for any personal injury or property damage done by employees’ pets. You have to remember, even the most docile of pets can sometimes go rogue. You don’t want your company to be on the receiving end of the mayhem.
If you are looking at recruiting younger talent, having a ‘bring your pet to work’ policy could help. This trend is very popular with millennials and could in fact help to keep anxiety levels down because they won’t have worry about rushing home to take care of their pet. A pet is a great conversation starter so it could be an easy way to bring employees together and create a familial feel within the office.
Having pets in the office can be an excellent way for a smaller sized company to get employees to bond. Many will feel a sense of responsibility with the pets in the office and want to help out where they can. Be sure to set a limit on the number of pets allowed in the office at one time if your company is a bit on the larger scale, otherwise you may end up feeling like a kennel more than a place of business.
With all of the pros and cons to consider before allowing pets in the workplace, it’s important that you weigh all of the options and decide which is best for your company.
Some companies allow dogs, cats, birds, & even turtles and lizards in the office. But not all businesses can host animal team members so be sure.