The best companies are trying innovative strategies to attract and retain the finest employees. One of the more radical notions has taken root in start-ups and even with businesses on the Fortune 500 – that of allowing pets in the office. Why should this idea be a so foreign? Animals have been an important part of our existence long before skyscrapers changed the landscape. Perhaps returning to that part of us yearning to be one with nature has a hidden benefit that businesses are now tapping into. In fact, it must or otherwise it wouldn’t even be a topic for discussion in the boardroom.
More Focus on Work
How would your pet help you to focus on work more? It seems counterintuitive. Yet when our pets are with us the part of our brains that are spent worrying about what they are doing is no longer stimulated. For doggy parents who work in an office getting back home to take Spot out is one of their most pressing concerns. Employees who bring their pets to work no longer worry about Spot peeing and pooping all over the floor and furniture. They don’t worry about if he is driving the neighbors bonkers with his barking. Less worry on other things means more productivity at our jobs.
A Happier Workplace
It’s been established that pets make us happier. They alleviate stress and depression. They give us something other than ourselves to focus on. How do pets help us in the workplace then? Pet-friendly businesses have noticed their employees are more engaged, more cooperative with each other, and more collaborative. They encourage their owners to go out for walks during breaks instead of sitting in the breakroom playing Candy Crush Saga (or, worse, staying glued to their computer with no break at all).
Studies show another odd benefit is that gossiping decreases dramatically. Anyone who has spent time in a brick-and-mortar office knows the damage that bickering does to professional relationships and careers. If pets can truly reduce destructive slander, then perhaps they are more necessary in the workplace than we realize. In short, animals bring people together.
So, When Do We Make It Happen?
Not so fast…many companies will probably never be able to institute a blanket policy allowing animals in the workplace. Too many people with allergies or a fear of creatures (yes, I know you are rolling your eyes right now) must be acknowledged. Small businesses or those firms that started out with a casual, animal-friendly atmosphere have the advantage of establishing themselves as such a workplace. For example, start-ups like Storm8 and Zynga began as pet-friendly businesses. Employees they hired after the fact were already aware that animals would be a part of their working lives.
There are workplaces that might be too dangerous for your pet. If you work around machinery or in some sort of manufacturing plant, an escaped gerbil or dog could be an absolute nightmare for everyone involved. Having a pet in the workplace may continue to be a pipe dream for some of us but at least it is a concept that is slowly becoming part of our society once again – as it was before concrete jungles sprung up.
By Gabrielle Allemeier
About the Author
Gabrielle Allemeier volunteers her free time as an animal rescuer and foster pet parent. As an animal lover, she enjoys sharing the knowledge she has gained from her experience with a variety of animals. Along with being an animal lover, Gabrielle is a globetrotter. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her terrier, Thisbe.