Pets In The Workplace – Is It Barking Mad?

25-10-2016

According to a recent study, 16% of the 3,000 office workers canvassed had an office pet.  The pets ranged from fish, dogs and cats to snakes, tarantulas and tortoises!  Over half of those who answered the survey felt that they were more motivated by having a pet in the office, but do the advantages of an office pet outweigh the disadvantages?  Is it worth your business considering?

ADVANTAGES

There have been various studies conducted over the years about the effects that pets have on humans.  The vast majority of the studies all reached the conclusion that pets have a positive impact on health, helping to reduce stress and heart rate and lower blood pressure.  There is also evidence to suggest that pets can boost productivity.

Office Profile recently met Rudey the Labradoodle, the office dog at William Alexander in East Sussex, Hove, who greeted us cheerfully at the door as we arrived.  You can see him in the picture below, hard at work (or perhaps just surveying the area for treats or unattended food)

William_Alexander

One potential benefit that could be overlooked is that it may portray the company in a positive, fun and friendly manner to clients and visitors.

DISADVANTAGES

While many people have pets at home and enjoy their company, it must be remembered that there are those that do not.  Many people suffer from pet related allergies which can cause respiratory or other health issues.  There are also those who have a fear of certain animals or pets.

Badly behaved, or overly energetic pets can be a real issue in a workplace.  These can knock over drinks, jump on desks or have ‘accidents’ in an office.  Some animals or pets may bite or scratch when scared or playing, and this could potentially leave a company liable to claims.  These could cause wasted time having to deal with a problem which wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

Perhaps one of the most common concerns about office pets are that it could cause a distraction.  Employees may stop working to pet or play with a dog, or leave their desks to fetch a treat.

CONCLUSION

Ultimately the choice whether or not to have an office pet lies with the company and whether it fits with their culture and environment.  They may decide that the cons outweigh the pros or perhaps they can see a real advantage to having a furry or scaled friend nearby.  Either way, there is evidence to suggest that having an office pet is becoming more prevalent and is on the rise.  In America it is incredibly popular and since 1996 companies have been celebrating ‘Take your dog to work day’ with over 10,000 companies participating annually.   Perhaps we will see this celebration appearing in the UK soon!