There has been a time when jeans aren’t even allowed in the workplace, especially in corporate office set-ups. Back then, even reading a book is punishable in the workplace. Now, companies allow people to dress casually more often than usual. This unconventional practice, among others, is applied by companies considering that fact that that business attire does not necessarily boost an employee’s performance in the company, and reading can actually boost an individual’s skill set. Some companies even allot a time for their employees to be allowed to play video games.
The reason? If you can provide your employees a way to reduce their stress during work, their productivity and passion for the company have a higher chance of increasing. Also, this could be considered an incentive.
Taking all these into consideration, a huge argument has risen when defending whether pets are welcome in the corporate world. This has led to companies to allot one or two days a week for pets to be allowed in the workplace. Read the following reasons to decide if you may want to consider allowing pets in your business place.
Pets Can Lower Stress Levels
Allowing pets at work for one or two days could prove to be helpful in lowering the stress levels of your employees. According to Chris Meiering, director of innovation at Zuke’s, a natural pet treat company located in Durango, Colorado, an average day in their office includes 25 staff members and 10 dogs, though sometimes there are more than 20 dogs on the company’s premises at one time.
“Having them by our side makes us happy, lowers our stress levels and creates an environment that is comfortable, open and flexible,” he said. “Some offices have water cooler conversations; we have dog playtime conversations. Their presence really builds camaraderie in the office.”
Then again, how is this so? Studies show that animals can reduce tension and improve mood. For example, pets can help some people with mild to moderate depression feel better, especially when partnered together with their treatment.
The idea of making a pet happy has a symbiotic effect. To put it simply, helping your pet also helps you. Petting your cat or dog may be noticeably enjoyable for them, but the act can relax you too. Scientists suggest petting helps increase the release of feel-good hormones in animals and humans. Your touch relaxes the animal and releases feel-good endorphins in you, reducing your heart rate.
On a side note, a therapeutic pet massage can also be used to regularly check animals for fleas or suspicious bumps, or to relieve muscle knots.
Additionally, communicating with animals may lower your blood pressure and improve your overall health. Engaging animals in “happy talk,” or speaking in an upbeat tone could help a lot. Happy talk or laughter around animals releases hormones in humans that lower blood pressure, and make animals feel better as well. This is why thinking happy thoughts when talking to your pet or speaking to birds and squirrels in your backyard may seem silly, but the conversation can put you at ease.
Of course, at the end of the day, if you can reduce the stress levels of your employees, it can eventually lead to better productivity. It is proven by science that higher level stress really dents the productivity of workers. Then again, if employees can have as many outlets as possible in order for them to reduce stress, it could help them increase their effectiveness as workers.
They Can Aid in Health and Wellness
It is also proven that promoting health and wellness in the workplace can really help a company achieve a better percentage of productivity. Typically, unhealthy workplace environments are detrimental to the productivity of the people in them. Aside from physical wellness, mental wellness is also a huge factor in maintaining the effectiveness of a workplace.
Barring allergic reactions to animal furs, having pets allowed for work can be helpful for various kinds of employees. For example, some of your employees can employ a service dog that can help with their anxiety, PTSD or clinical depression. Generally, having pets contribute to overall wellness and allowing them in the workplace for a few days can really do a lot of good for the company.
Effective verbal and nonverbal communication skills are valuable in the workplace. Some companies spend a lot of money to train their employees on how to effectively communicate. Good communication skills go beyond conversations, but employees must know how to communicate well in written reports and emails. Understanding the benefits of effective communication helps companies place a focus on developing a workforce that is able to communicate within the firm and with customers, vendors and international business partners.
When employees bring their pets, it’s an automatic ice breaker. Coworkers who rarely talk or see each other in the office would now be more motivated to say hello and initiate new conversations about work. This could be beneficial to breaking down internal silos and working more efficiently.
Also, science says that a good relationship with your animal friends may spill over into better relations with other people. An animal doesn’t care who you are or what outfit you’re wearing, they just want to play and be around you. This carefree, playful attitude has made many animal-lovers more prone to live in the moment.
Studies also show that observing animals in nature can teach valuable characteristics like patience, and help restore mental energy. Taking care of an animal can also teach responsibility and stimulate feelings of trust, openness and companionship.
Overall, having better communication for your employees is a step in the right direction when it comes to boosting your company’s productivity. Effective communication in the workplace helps employees and managers form highly efficient teams. Employees are able to trust each other and management.
Cons of Having a Pet in the Workplace
Unfortunately, there are some issues that have prevented many companies from allowing pets to be in the workplace for a very long time.
- Not Enough Space: For companies with limited work space or little outdoor space, having pets in the office is not always a practical option.
- Allergies & Accidents: Before letting the dogs out, or in, it’s important to know if all employees are on board. Some employees might be allergic to pet dander. There is also the very real possibility that pets can make a mess or two in the office. While some companies are very specific with office’s physical organization and tidiness, some extend their patience and go beyond by opting to have pets around.
- Distraction: Although the thought of pets in the workplace seems wonderful, dogs can also be a distraction and ironically, potentially slow productivity. Again, this could be worked into a pet policy but some offices have chosen to do without.
- Liability: People would like to assume that pets would never hurt anyone. However, the reality is having pets in the workplace does open the door to minor injuries for both humans and pets alike.
If you can provide a way to mitigate these bad effects of having pets in the workplace, then there is a big chance that you could be in a better position than you were in before. For example, you can have an air purifier to deal with the allergens caused by the pets in the workplace. Also, if you can provide a space for the pets to be in so that your workers could leave them there while doing their actual work, it could really be beneficial for everyone concerned.