I remember in a job I used to have, a long time ago, there was a guy who worked in the office who was blind, and he always brought his guide dog into work with him. I used to go over and say hello to him every now and then, and use it as an opportunity to stroke the dog, which always seemed to make me feel calm and serene somehow – I don’t know if it was because it was so unusual to see a dog in an office, but it definitely helped with the old stress levels.
So I wasn’t too surprised to hear the results of a recent survey by officebroker.com, which found that the number of employees bringing their pet into work is actually on the increase – plus doing so can increase productivity, whilst helping to relax staff.
In fact, the survey found that 90 per cent of companies that allowed dogs in the workplace observed a positive change in the working environment, while 56 per cent claimed pets had improved workplace relations, and half even noticed a decrease in absence.
Of course, before you decree that next Friday is ‘bring-your-pet-to-work’ day, there are a few health and safety issues you have to consider first. For instance, you must ensure that the organisation has suitable liability insurance; and perhaps it would also be a good idea to check whether anyone has any pet allergies.
And maybe there should be a rule on what sorts of pets can be brought into the workplace. I can’t imagine that the office would be the best place for John from IT to keep his pet python, for instance.
Also, if you decide that bringing pets into work will turn into a long-term thing, make sure you draw up a pet policy and ensure it is communicated to all staff.
So are pet-friendly workplaces a good idea? Well, the UK is known as a nation of pet-lovers, and with the results of this survey presenting some reasonable arguments for such an idea, maybe it’s worth thinking about.
What do you think?