Is Allowing Pets in the Workplace Right for Your Business?

Picture of Gina Blitstein Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.

Is Allowing Pets in the Workplace Right for Your Business?

One general strategy for retaining employees - and attracting new ones - is to ensure your workplace is an appealing place to be. There are a number of ways to do that, including providing ergonomic furniture, having onsite eateries, and encouraging fun team-building activities. Another is instituting a pet-friendly policy that allows workers the option of bringing their pets to work. The logic behind this policy is that pets provide a measure of comfort that helps people work more effectively. Also that the presence of pets makes for an overall happier environment.

Clearly, this is not a policy that’s implementable or even practical for every workplace. However, if your business is one where pets would or could be appreciated, here are some pros and cons to consider.

Pros of pets in the workplace

Allowing pets helps employees maintain a sense of balance between work and their home life. Employees who spend long hours at work miss out on the benefits of being a pet owner. Allowing them to be with their pets all day provides a much-appreciated opportunity to keep the pet-owner bond strong and maintain a sense of connectedness to home.

Having pets around the workplace to pet and interact with lowers overall stress among workers. Lower stress (and more walking in the case of owners who walk their dogs) leads to happier and healthier employees which ultimately leads to lower healthcare costs.

A pet-friendly atmosphere can increase employees’ morale and job satisfaction by indicating that you care about their well being and contentment. This leads to greater productivity and greater investment in their work, even among those who don’t bring pets but who enjoy interacting with them.

Cons of pets in the workplace

Some people are uncomfortable around or allergic to certain animals. No one should be made uncomfortable or be inconvenienced by the presence of pets, so you must make absolutely certain that no one dislikes pets in general or a type in particular or has an allergy that could be triggered by a pet brought to work.

Pets present the possibility of distraction and/or disruption. Not all pets are well trained and obedient. Ill-behaved pets will disrupt the workplace and cause workers to be distracted from their concentration and workflow. Even an adorable, well-mannered pet can potentially sidetrack an employee’s attention.

There’s a potential for liability by allowing pets in the workplace. You can be held liable if a pet were to bite or otherwise injure a person or another pet and be responsible for any costs associated with the situation. Consult with your insurance agent to ensure you are covered under your policy for any damages that may occur by having pets in your workspace. It goes without saying any pets allowed in your place of business should be healthy and current on all their vaccinations.

Pets may cause damage to your workplace. Even well-behaved pets can potentially cause costly damage to your facility. If you rent, make certain to clear it with your landlord before allowing pets so they can inform you on their policies concerning animals on the premises.

Allowing pets in the workplace can be an appealing perk for employees; just make certain that everyone’s on board and that you take precautions to ensure it’s a safe and enjoyable policy for everyone concerned.

Pets in your workplace? Yay or nay?

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