Pets At Work: Good for Your Health or A Distraction?

Jeremy Razo
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Bringing your pet to work is a new topic that comes to mind this year. Employees that became pet parents are returning to the office and pets are now dealing with their owners being gone for a long period of time. But rather than letting pets stay at home, some employers decided to change their thinking. Companies like Amazon, Atentahealth and Pet Desk have made efforts to be pet friendly. In a recent Rover study, over 77% of 1,000 pet parents say it's important to work for a dog-friendly company. COVID-19 made owners almost inseparable from their pets, especially their dogs. Sounds like a good idea, right?

Backed by Science
Well science seems to agree. According to Health Magazine, having a dog creates a calmer and friendlier atmosphere. Petting a dog for 15 minutes releases 'feel-good' hormones like serotonin and oxytocin. Dogs also help to reduce stress by lowering cortisol. Other benefits of having dogs at work include:

1. A comfortable work environment

2. Their unconditional love and affection can boost employee morale

Concerns on office distractions
Having pets at the office seems like a great idea but it isn't a perfect one. Employers need to make sure they can make accommodations for each employee. Some employees may have phobias of a particular pet like dogs or cats. In this instance, it may be best to help those fearful employees work from home. Employers could also make a designated area for employees and pets. The idea also helps those that have pet allergies to work without feeling irritated.

Companies also risk the office becoming unproductive if the office becomes pet friendly. These supporters believe that having pets roaming the office will cause distractions. This belief is not always true. Many owners have trained pets that keep to themselves. Allowing only well-behaved pets to come to work will limit the amount of pet related distractions.

Promotes team building and communication
Another positive for allowing pets in the office are the social benefits. New hires may feel intimidated talking to other coworkers. Having a pet in an office may act as a 'no-pressure' way to start a conversation. This can be very relaxing for employees that have social anxiety. A conversation about a pet will lead to talking about work and family as well.

A pets at work policy must be something that makes sense for employees and clients alike. There are certainly benefits to bringing pets to the office but employees still must get their work done!

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