Should You Be a Pet-friendly Business? Things to Consider.

calendar December 13, 2018

Everyone loves a cute little puppy, but is bringing Spot to work taking it too far? Can pets in the office be too much of a good thing?

Bring on the cuteness

If the thought of having pets at work makes you super happy, you’re not alone.

Employees under 35 list a pet-friendly office as their most desired workplace perk, which could give pro-pet workplaces an edge when it comes to recruiting talent.

Here are a few more reasons having a pet-friendly workplace policy might be a benefit.

Pets at work have been shown to:

  • Increase employee engagement, morale, and retention
  • Enhance personal interaction and professional collaboration
  • Encourage healthy habits via daily walks and activity
  • Add levity and create a more relaxed atmosphere for staff and clients

Permitting pets at work also gives many employees more flexibility with their time, which allows them to be in the office more often.

In addition to providing joy and flexibility, allowing furry friends at work can be a huge financial benefit to pet owners. But it’s not all fun and games.

Careful consideration

If the thought of adding animals into the Human Resources mix has you feeling nervous, you may be justified in your concerns.

Potential issues here include:

Distractions

Bringing a pet to work requires caring for it during the day. This can be good if your employees tend not to take their much-needed breaks, but bad if they add pet care in on top of them. Sometimes, it’s the dogs who are the distraction. It can be pretty hard to concentrate on your work or take a business call if there is an anxious or loud dog nearby. Or even just a super adorable one.

Conflict

Differences in pet parenting styles and views on what behavior is acceptable has caused many an argument on the internet. A pet-friendly policy could easily bring these same discussions to the workplace, causing both dogs and employees to bark at each other.

Accidents

Yes, those kind. They can and do happen. But there are other kinds of accidents as well. Chewed cords. Spilled coffee. And the potential for a confused or unhappy pup to lash out.

Liability

If someone gets bitten at work, it can quickly escalate into angry words and even lawsuits. Legal action can also arise from employees with allergies or fear of animals who feel like they are not being adequately accommodated.

Repercussions

“If Joe can bring his dog, why can’t I bring my python?” This is a question you may need to address, so make sure your policy covers it. Also, be aware that even the sweetest, most adorable kitten or puppy can bring unwanted guests with it. Treating a flea outbreak at home is hard enough, but once it hits the office, look out.

Starting small

If you’re thinking of dipping your toes into the pet-friendly waters, but are afraid to go all in, here are some ways to tread lightly:

  • Consider getting an office dog, cat, or other animal instead of instituting a bring-your-own policy.
  • Participate in Bring Your Dog to Work day to see how it goes or establish one day per month when pets are allowed.
  • If you have particularly slow or stressful times during the year, look into hosting animals on-site for a few hours at a time for a little fun and/or workplace stress relief.

If you want to support employees and their pets without actually bringing furry friends into the office, there are other ways to offer pet-related perks:

  • Create flexible paid time off programs that include room for veterinarian visits and pet emergencies, adoption, or bereavement
  • Allow for work-at-home options when pets are sick or injured
  • Offer discounted pet insurance as a voluntary benefit
  • Support employees who adopt animals with recognition, a pet-related gift, or a company donation to a pet-related charity.

Other ideas for animal-loving businesses include getting involved with your local humane society or animal shelter by sponsoring events, matching funds donated by employees, or offering time off for staff members who want to volunteer.

You could also create a pet wall of fame where people can post pictures of their furry friends. That way, whether or not you allow animals on-site, your employees will still feel the love. And see the cuteness.

Employee stress can be very negative towards your business in the long run. At Combined, Inc., we’ve got tools to make it easier on your HR department, your employees, and your bottom line. If you’re looking for an employee benefits consultant that is a true business partner, Combined is here for you. RECEIVE ASSISTANCE TO SCHEDULE A FREE COMPLIANCE REVIEW, DEMO, CONSULTATIONS, AND MANY MORE SPECIAL OFFERS. CONTACT US NOW

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