How awesome would it be if you can bring Fido to work every day? The Society of Human Resource Management report shows that 7 percent of companies now allow pets at work. As a trend that’s growing in many creative open working offices, pets in the workplace adds a fun new image for many modern workplace settings.
Companies who allow employees to bring their dog to work are now the new definition of cool. Thanks to these wonderful employers, pet owners don’t have to worry about leaving their pups behind at home while they work 9 to 5.
Lots of studies have also proven the benefits of bringing pets into our workplace. Aside from an increase in productivity, collaboration, and overall happiness while on the job, allowing pets in the workplace is considered an employee retention tool and currently one of the most attractive perks for many job hunters out there.
And while many people agree that this is awesome, there’s also a growing number of people concerned about the practicality of the whole idea. Here are things companies should expect when they allow pets at work:
- They can be distracting.
Yes, pets in the workplace can be fun. They give employees more reasons to leave their desks. They’d have to feed their pets, clean up after them, and walk them at least once during the day. It’s may be fun for some time until you’ve got a tight work deadline and you can’t afford distractions.
The truth is pets do make you less stressed at work, but they also take up time that you could have spent on being productive, forming bonds with teammates, or creating due reports. If you take up too much time to care for your dog than do actual work, their presence might turn counterproductive instead.
- Some people have pet allergies.
Let us put in mind the million of people who suffer from pet-related allergies. According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, around 15 % to 30% of Americans have one form of pet allergy. These allergies can be mild or so severe that it would cause panic attack and respiratory disorders.
Aside from allergy reactions, there are also some people who are scared and may feel threatened by the presence of animals. They could have had a traumatic experience before causing this fear, or they simply feel threatened upon seeing one. For these people, pets at workplace will not be such a good idea, and it would even decrease their levels of happiness while on the job.
- Pet Behavioral Problems
It’s a sad reality but not all animals are suitable in the workplace. While some dogs do get along with humans and other canines or pets very well, many breeds of dogs have separation anxieties and behavioral problems.
Dogs with separation anxieties will whine and bark loudly when their owner leaves them even for a few minutes. Workplaces that are too noisy can also be disturbing for pets and may increase their aggression.
There are also instances where dogs with behavioral problems tend to respond aggressively towards strangers or people not to their liking. Anxious pets can become disobedient and cause trouble when they start chewing office supplies. Not to mention the ongoing war between dogs and cats. When will they ever get along?
The worst thing that can happen is if your pet injures one of your coworkers. Sometimes even the most docile pets can attack if provoked. And since you can’t hold an animal accountable for its action, coworkers will probably end up suing for damage and injury.
- Dog-Friendly Offices Are not Cheap
A dog-friendly office is anything but cheap. If you’re switching from a normal to pet-friendly office things have to be planned and researched carefully.
For everything to go well, you have to consider every aspect of your space including the floor. It has to be carpet squares or tiles so it can be easily removed in case of accidents. There should also be outdoor areas where pet owners can walk their dog during the day. There also has to be a fenced in area in the office where dogs can relieve themselves.
Employers should also include policies like pet health insurance so their employees won’t have to shoulder all the payment when their dog injures someone or damages office supplies.
At the end of the day, your office’s decision to allow pets in the workplace is in the hands of the whole group. It’s a risky move, one that needs to be researched and planned before transition. The management should look into the consideration of the minority as well as the majority.