Dogs in the workplace

Dog friendly work places are very popular in today’s modern culture. Ben & Jerry’s, Amazon, Google and Etsy are among some of the largest companies that encourage and allow their staff to bring their dogs to work. In America a recent study by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) concluded that 17% of companies had dog and pet friendly workplaces.

Pet related businesses have a higher percentage of pet friendly workplaces.

There are many benefits to having pets in the workplace. It can also potentially cause interpersonal and even legal issues. Let’s look at the good and the bad points go having pets at work.

The Good Points

  • Stress relievers: Pets in the office reduce stress and can make the employees feel more comfortable and relaxed. A 2012 study by International Journal of Workplace Health Management concluded that individuals who brought their dogs to work had decreased hormonal stress levels when compared to those who did not bring any pets to work. In fact, the staff that didn't bring pets to work showed higher levels of stress.
  • Promotes Positive Interactions: A pet-friendly workplace increases employee satisfaction and can improve morale. Pets are also a point of common interest that can help to promote an atmosphere of better teamwork and more communication. Pets are great for social interaction between staff.
  • Eliminates Pet Care Costs: Allowing owners to bring their pets to work also provides a significant financial benefit—it takes away the additional expenses of doggie day care or dog walking services for employees who work very long hours or travel a long distance from their house every day. Day care and walking services can be very expensive, so this can be an excellent perk for a pet-owning employee.
  • Improves Company Image: Pets in the office can boost a customer’s perception of the company. Most customers have a positive reaction when they are offered a chance to interact with an employee’s pet, and it can help them to relax and enjoy their visit to the company. Pets in the office also tends to soften the company’s image and makes a business seem more forward thinking.
  • Decreases Employee Turnover: Employee turnover is always a problem for businesses, especially when they invest the time and resources to train a new hire that don't stay for the duration. Allowing pets in the office is an attractive feature for employees who own animals, and this can be an excellent recruiting tool.
  • Increases Employee Performance: Employees of pet-friendly companies tend to work longer hours and have fewer absences. They don’t have to worry about rushing home to let the dog out or staying home to care for an ill pet.

The Bad Points

  • They can be distracting Pets can be a distraction for both the owner and their neighbouring colleagues. A dog will need to go outside for walks, and there could be noise issues from barking. Pets can draw small crowds of employees seeking entertainment.
  • Employee Allergies or Phobias: Not every employee can be around animals due to allergies, which for some individuals can be quite severe. Others may have deeply ingrained phobias about being around certain types of animals.
  • Potential Damage to Office: Pets can cause damage to office equipment by having occasional accidents on the carpet or chewing the office furniture. While the office’s pet population may maintain a high standard of good behaviour, accidents can happen.
  • Potential Legal Issues: There are always potential legal and insurance issues related to scenarios where a dog could bite an employee, customer, or supplier while on the company’s property. It is important to discuss such issues with a solicitor.
  • Makes a “Pet/Dog Policy” Mandatory.

Allowing pets in the office generally makes it necessary for an employer to draft a comprehensive “pet/dog policy.” The policy should include consequences for misbehaviour such as placing an animal on probation, specifying what types of pets are allowed, specifying how many times the pet can visit the company, and clearly stating how animals are to be leashed. during their time at the company.
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