5 Reasons Going Pet-Friendly Is Good for Your Employees’ Wellbeing
Pet ownership in the US and many other countries around the world has spiked significantly in recent years.
Current research suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic has been a major contributing factor to this development, as people turned to pets to mitigate loneliness and feelings of social isolation during lockdowns.
Many also found themselves with more time and resources to devote to their pets during the pandemic years, as remote work setups and shelter-in-place orders kept them at home more often.
Now that the pandemic is coming increasingly under control in many areas, most workers will have started reporting to the office for work again on a regular basis.
Particularly devoted pet owners may find this development a downer, considering that both they and their pets will have gotten used to having each other close by almost every day.
The good news is that, as the years pass, more and more modern business owners are learning more about the positive effect that pet-friendly offices can have on worker productivity and motivation. As a result, many company executives around the world have begun allowing their employees to take their pets to work.
Some of the most compelling ways a pet-friendly workplace can benefit employees include the following:
Fosters Camaraderie and Collaboration
Anyone who’s ever taken their dog out on a walk and found themselves striking up a friendly conversation with a neighbor, a fellow pet owner, or even just a random passerby can attest that pets have a way of bringing people together.
It’s easy to see, then, how having pets in the office will instantly give your employees something to talk about and connect over that isn’t related to work.
Get enough dog lovers in a room together and it will surprise you how enthusiastically and easily they’ll start sharing funny stories, pet service recommendations, care tips, and so much more.
Pet-friendly offices can help your employees develop a positive rapport, making them more inclined to communicate with and trust each other. They may even become more motivated to work together on collaborative tasks and projects.
Whether you’re asking your team members to put together a big presentation or come up with office dog party ideas, they’ll definitely work harder and deliver better results if they share a strong bond.
Promotes Good Physical and Mental Health
Many pet owners have long been aware of the positive impact that keeping an animal companion close by can have on a person’s mood, motivation, and overall well-being.
There’s also abundant research to suggest that simply being around animals has a profound effect on mental health.
Petting a dog, for instance, has been scientifically proven to reduce blood pressure. It also lowers the levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the brain and encourages the production of oxytocin, a mood-boosting hormone that encourages feelings of happiness and relaxation.
Furthermore, many pet owners naturally become more active as a result of tending to their pets’ needs.
Similarly, having dogs around the office can help encourage healthier habits and lifestyle choices. After all, a dog will occasionally need to be taken outside for a toilet break or a few minutes of exercise, which is the perfect way to get your employees away from their desks for some much-needed respite.
Workers who can spend a little time each day walking around, stretching their legs, and just being outdoors in the sun and fresh air will be much more energized when they sit back down to work again.
Encourages Greater Productivity
More traditional employers are frequently concerned that letting employees bring their pets to work will distract them and keep them from getting things done.
Studies of pet-friendly workplaces over the years, however, have consistently shown that the opposite is true. We’ve already discussed how having pets in the office can lead to a happier, more engaged, less stressed-out workforce.
It’s only logical, then, to conclude that employees in this positive state of mind make fewer mistakes, focus better, and ultimately get more work done than those who are more often stressed and exhausted at work.
Drives Employee Retention
A pet-friendly workplace is a dream for many pet owners.
Some will certainly welcome the chance to forgo paying for expensive daycare services or pet sitters. Others, meanwhile, will be happy for the opportunity to spend every day with their furry friends instead of leaving them alone at home.
Overall, the option of bringing a pet to work is an attractive money- and time-saving benefit that many pet owners will be hard-pressed to ignore.
A pet-friendly workplace will not only draw more skilled people to your company, but will likely also incentivize them to stay on for the long haul.
Helps Pets Socialize
By opening your workplace to pets, you’ll be directly helping employees with one of the most challenging tasks of pet ownership:
socializing their pets. Dogs with limited exposure to other people and animals, for example, can become anxious and distressed in unfamiliar settings and social situations.
Letting dogs and other pets into your office allows them to meet people other than the members of their household and develop healthier responses to being in new environments.
At the end of the day, there’s no disputing the fact that pet-friendly work environments foster greater productivity, communication, and teamwork in the workplace.
While setting up a pet-conducive office space and drawing up proper guidelines may take some time and effort, the benefits will likely be well worth it.
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