Pets in the Workplace
Benefits for Employee Wellbeing
Today marks World Animal Day 2019, a global event aiming to mobilise people into action for a better future for animals. Here at Mauve, we’re joining the campaign to celebrate animals and improve welfare standards around the world. Animals hugely enrich the lives of humans and their companionship has been shown to improve our wellbeing, reduce stress levels and even lengthen our life expectancies. The bond between humans and animals is also finding its way into the workplace, with a recent SHRM study concluding that 7% of US employers now allow pets in their offices.
But does allowing pets into your workplace truly have long-term benefits for efficiency and morale? What considerations should employers make when bringing animals into a place of work? In this article, we explore the rising phenomenon of sharing workplaces with pets, and outline the ground rules you should set to ensure the safety and productivity of workers and animals alike. As a company of huge animal lovers, we also spoke to Mauve employees about their beloved pets and the joy they bring after a long day in the office – catch their pictures and stories over on our Twitter feed today.
Benefits of Bringing Pets into the Workplace
Boosts Morale – A recent business.com article points out that “Businesses that allow furry or feathered friends to come to work with employees tend to have creative, open working environments. It helps when the corporate culture places an emphasis on its employees’ experiences at work.” Being in the vicinity of pets improve our moods, leading to greater willing to work and higher-performing workplaces.
Improves Inter-Team Socialisation – employees will bond over mutual love of furry friends. It’s a common ground that many people share, and encourages friendly conversation even across borders. Our own internal social platform is evidence of this – upon asking for opinions and viewpoints on this article topic, the World Animal Day thread was inundated with pictures and stories of Mauve employees’ beloved furry friends across our global offices. This has made for a warm and inclusive discussion that will hopefully be ongoing!
Appeals to New Hires – businesses that allow pets appeal to new prospective employees, as the policy denotes an inclusive, creative and family-orientated company culture. Millennials are particularly attracted by organisations who have a flexible ethos and are understanding of the needs of its employees – 42% of surveyed millennials in a study by pet food brand Purina said they’d enjoy having a dog around the office.
Improves Retention – pet-friendly offices reduce the need to pay for pet daycare or walkers, and also allow workers to spend more time with their furry best friends. 40% of Purina surveyees said a pet-friendly office improved their work-life balance. A good work-life balance will ensure companies retain staff for longer.
Appeals to Customers – in customer-facing workplaces, the presence of pets in the workplace can bring a similarly relaxed and creative environment to customers, improving their feeling of wellbeing too. Inclusive brands with a positive culture are a key driver to purchase for consumers.
Things to Consider When Implementing an Animal-Friendly Workspace
The decision to introduce animals to the workplace should be properly planned with employees properly consulted. If this isn’t actioned correctly, pet-friendly offices can have an adverse effect on morale and productivity.
Do you have anyone with pet allergies in the office? Check with interviewees and allow employees to have their say on bringing pets into the office. Ensure none of your employees have any fears or concerns about pets being in the workspace. Some people have phobias of certain animals and their ability to work comfortably is a priority. When considering allowing animals into the workplace, try to build an inclusive, co-operative discussion so that workers can share their feelings. Also, be aware of any customers or partners who may have phobias or allergies and create a contingency plan.
Make absolutely sure the working environment is suitable for pets and they cannot be endangered in any way. For example, if the area is high-traffic and animals could get injured underfoot, introducing a pet-friendly workplace policy probably isn’t ideal. The wellbeing of the animal is absolutely paramount – there should be food and water stations, plenty of space and the ability to access open spaces so that they aren’t cooped up all day.
If office space is leased, ensure you have permission to bring animals into the workspace from the landlord. Nowadays, many shared workspaces like WeWork permit friendly, well-behaved animals as standard, but this should always be confirmed to avoid invalidating the lease.
Set clear ground rules – ensure that only well behaved, housebroken pets are permitted. Many organisations have a Pets At Work policy which establishes the do’s and don’t’s after consultation with management and employees.
Mauve Animal Lovers and Their Beloved Pets
We’ll be sharing pictures and stories from Mauve employees on our Twitter feed all day to mark our support of World Animal Day – be sure to check out @MauveGroup to read more.