Office pets can be a lot of fun and a great addition to your team. However, they’re not right for every office. Before making the decision to bring a pet into the office, make sure you’re aware of what it really means to have an office pet, the responsibilities that come along with it and the advantages and disadvantages.
If, all things considered, bringing a pet into the workplace seems like a great idea then be sure to read on to learn more about how to choose the perfect pet for your office!
In this article, we’ll take a look at:
What is an Office Pet?
Many offices these days are pet-friendly and allow pets at work. However, pets brought in by employees are not to be confused with office pets. A pet-friendly work environment is one in which employees can bring their pets to work with them from home while an office pet is a pet that is actually owned by your office and lives in the building.
While pets brought to work by employees are the responsibility of their owner, an office pet requires a volunteer (or several volunteers) to care for it in the office. A pet-friendly office may require a dog at work policy or pets at work policy while an office pet will require a policy that includes the addition of responsibilities for many in the workplace.
Care is required for a pet during office hours but also when the workday is done – don’t forget to consider who will take care of the animal on the weekend!
Pros and Cons of Office Pets
There are many positive aspects of having an office cat, dogs in the workplace and other office pets. However, along with those pros come negative aspects as well.
Pets can benefit employees and employers in many ways including:
- Boosting morale – it’s a well-known fact that pets make people happy! Bringing a pet into the office can help to boost morale and keep everyone perked up.
- Reducing stress – a pet in the office can help employees to find a better work-life balance by promoting short walks and breaks while at work.
Taking a step back from a heavy workload or a problem at work can significantly reduce stress. Pets in the office also bring about laughter and happiness, helping to reduce stress.
- Improving health – by reducing stress with the help of a pet at work, the health of employees will also improve.
The physical activity required to care for a pet like an office dog can also help employees to stay fit and healthy. In addition to this benefit for employees themselves, employers can also benefit from reduced healthcare costs and downtime.
- Promoting interaction and collaboration – pets work great as ice-breakers! A pet can encourage employee interaction and help them get to know one another by sparking up conversations.
Increased interaction and collaboration, as a result, will undoubtedly improve productivity, creativity and team bonding.
- Increasing productivity – happy employees are productive employees. By boosting morale and increasing collaboration among employees, productivity in the workplace will also increase.
- Reducing turnover – a positive work environment means employees will be happy to come into work.
This results in less turnover and reduced hiring costs for employers.
- Recruiting – the best employees seek the best work environments. An office pet can create a fun working atmosphere, providing a perk that attracts new employees.
Pets are a great way to boost morale in the workplace, but there’s more to having a positive work environment than having a dog or a cat running around. Here’s “How To Boost Employee Morale With These 7 Powerful Tactics.”
With positives come negatives. Here are some disadvantages to having a pet in the office:
- Not everyone likes animals – while many employees will be more than happy to have a pet around, some may have allergies to pets or may even be hesitant or afraid around animals.
For employees that aren’t so keen on an office pet, having one in their space can increase stress and decrease productivity.
Employers should be sure that bringing a pet into the office won’t cause any issues for employees that may not be so fond of animals. In addition, employers should keep in mind their clients.
Will clients be coming into the office? If so, how will they respond to an animal in the office? Given that someone is not a fan of the office pet, what can be done when they come into the office?
- Disruptions – short breaks here and there throughout the day are a great way to reduce stress however, employers need to be sure that an office pet doesn’t create too much of a distraction for employees.
Some pets will be more demanding than others. For example, an office dog will need to be walked regularly. Employers should consider how distracting and disruptive this will be to employees when considering a pet.
- Costs – pets can be costly. Vaccinations, training, food and other supplies will need to be covered by the employer.
Vet bills can also add up if the office pet ever gets hurt or sick.
- Injuries – while no one likes to think that their pet would cause harm, accidents do happen.
Pets are animals, after all, and in some instances may cause injuries. Injuries caused by an office pet can be costly to an employer and, by the same token, an accident that harms the animal will also result in unforeseen costs.
It’s important that an office pet is properly trained and that employees know how to properly handle the animal.
How to Choose an Office Pet
Have you decided to move forward with getting an office pet? Now comes the biggest decision of all – which type of pet should you get? There are many things to consider when selecting the type of pet you’ll have in your office. There are pros and cons to all pets and so it is important to consider what works best for your space and your employees.
The best type of pet will add value to your office but won’t be too distracting as to reduce productivity.
Dogs and cats are very common and known to provide the most value in terms of wellbeing. However, they are also the most time-consuming. Dogs require the most attention and care but are also very affectionate. Cats, on the other hand, can also provide affection and companionship but are lower maintenance and much more independent.
Rodents and birds are also common. While they may provide less value than a dog or cat, they can also be great companions and are much easier to care for. If you are looking for a pet to start with this may be a good choice.
Fish and other aquatic animals can also make great office pets. They still provide entertainment but are the easiest to care for and less intrusive for employees that may not be comfortable around animals. If a super simple pet that doesn’t need a lot of care or attention is what you’re looking for then this is your best option.
Key Takeaways on Office Pets
Deciding whether to adopt an office pet can be a big decision. With many pros and cons to consider, employers ultimately need to decide whether the benefits to their employees will outweigh any costs.
Most importantly, employers should consider whether the reduced stress levels, increased morale, productivity and interpersonal engagement that results from having a pet in the office will outweigh the distraction and possible monetary costs that can result.
If an office pet seems like a good idea, then what type of pet also needs to be considered. Disruptions and costs can be minimized by choosing different types of pets. However, different types of animals also provide varying levels of benefits.
Dogs and cats provide the most value but are the most costly in terms of time and money. Birds and rodents can also provide the benefit of companionship but are less time consuming to care for. Fish are the easiest to look after however, the positive effects of their presence are not nearly what are experienced as a result of having a more engaged animal like a cat or dog.
With this in mind, employers can decide which type of pet is best for their work environment and goals.