Allowing pets in the workplace is becoming an increasingly popular perk as more employers shift to attracting a millennial workforce that values non-traditional offerings. This growing office trend is shown to support what pet owners have known since the beginning of time: Pets make us happy.
According to the Society of Human Resource Management, 7 percent of employers now allow pets to come to work with their owners which is up from 5 percent five years ago.
So, beyond happiness, what exactly are the benefits for employees, employers, and the office as a whole, for allowing pets to come to work?
1. Less Guilt
If your dog is by your side throughout the day, you aren’t constantly worrying about whether he is lonely, bored or destroying things. Bringing peace of mind into the office tends to make people focus on their work more and the tasks at hand rather than on external factors beyond their control.
2. Create Balance
The line between work and home is getting blurrier for many today. Offices can be a home away from home for many workers, which is why it’s not only nice to have your pet at work, but a necessity, especially if you work long hours and can’t break away to get to check on your pet.
Inverse-SquARE, a custom application development company, knows that opening the workplace to pets create a positive work-life balance because it keeps spirits high and reminds employees to take short breaks to play with and walk their dogs. Dogs can just be plain funny; a little comic relief goes along way because laughter is contagious.
3. Improved Morale
A workplace that encourages pets increases employee satisfaction, encourages teamwork and communication among colleagues, and improves morale, according to a study by the International Journal of Workplace Health Management. Dogs may buffer the impact of owner stress as well as make the job more satisfying. People with higher morale are usually easier to get along with than grumps.
4. Positive Company Image
Good employers place high value on their company’s image and what they are portraying to the rest of the world. They look more progressive and in tune with not only employees, but with customers who walk in the door. An inviting company culture is attractive to potential employees.
5. Less Employee Turnover
Job performance and employee retention is directly related to employee job satisfaction. Workers these days no longer stick in a job if they aren’t happy. They’d rather pursue new opportunities that align with their values. Plus, employers with less turnover could reduce company costs such as recruiting, screening and training new people to replace employees who quit.
6. Reduced Pet Care Costs
No one wants to spend money if they don’t have to. Daily doggie daycare can be an expensive endeavor, which is why younger generations look for employment that meets their needs. Another factor is long commutes or even short trips back and forth to let your dog out to do his business.
7. Boost Employee Performance
It’s a fact that happy employees are more productive. Animal expert, Mary Hope Kramer, has been quoted in many articles about the pros and cons of bringing pets to work.
“Employees of pet-friendly businesses tend to work longer hours and have fewer absences,” Kramer said. “They don’t have to worry about rushing home to let the dog out or staying home to watch a pet that may be feeling under the weather.”
She said that according to one study, 17 percent of employers had pet-friendly workplace polices. Pet-friendly companies such as Google, Amazon and Etsy are becoming more common, Kramer said. Taking breaks from work throughout the day is actually good for the brain.
8. Stress and Anxiety Relief/Health Benefits
A 2012 study found that people who had their dogs with them at work experienced reduced hormonal stress levels compared to those who did not bring a pet to work. In fact, those who didn’t bring their pet to work showed an increasing amount of stress as the day went on.
Overall, there’s been an increase in the need for pet therapy with a variety of animals including dogs, cats, birds, bunnies and even llamas in settings ranging from hospitals, schools, senior living communities and prisons.
Among seniors, a study back in 1980 found that heart attack patients who owned pets lived longer than those who didn’t. Another early study found that petting one’s own dog could reduce blood pressure.
The benefits of pets in the workplace are numerous. The most obvious of all is that our furry BFFs make us laugh, bring a lot of joy, make us feel less stressed, and just plain bring smiles to our faces.