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Pets in the Office - Perk or Pain in the A$$? | Visitor Registration
Should your office let employees bring their pets to the office? Here are some of the benefits and watch outs in building an in-office pet policy.
"Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet." -- Colette
Employees bringing their dogs or cats to work would have been an unthinkable idea not too many years ago. With today's low unemployment, organizations are seeking creative methods for increasing employee retention. In an era where companies are offering smart office tools and competing with office perks, the concept of allowing pets is quickly catching on. This is especially true in the fast-rising shared workspaces industry, which includes coworking and serviced offices.
Whether allowing pets in the office is right for your workplace depends in part on the business—it makes much more sense to allow pets in a pet-related business than a financial bank office, for example—but in general, these are some pros and cons to consider.
The Benefits of Allowing Pets
- Stress relief. This is the number one reason why pets are allowed in most places. People love their pets! Not only that, they often love other people's pets. A quick break petting or playing with a furball is just the thing many people need to get back to work in a cool, relaxed state.
- Reduced or eliminated pet care costs for employees. Just like in-house daycare can save employees a ton of money on daycare and commute travel time, letting them bring pets to work saves money. At an average cost of $20-30 per day, this is a significant saving versus hiring doggie daycare or dog walking services.
- Increased performance and decreased turnover. Beyond the productivity boost created by lower stress, workers miss less time due to pet-related issues when they can bring their pets to the office. Likewise, although the research is still ongoing, allowing pets is the type of perk workers don't easily want to give up, which appears to reduce employee turnover.
Why You Should Keep the Pets at Home
- Potential distractions. The flip side to the #1 pro. People love their pets, but it's possible for them to pay too much attention to animals in the office at the cost of their work. This needs to be carefully monitored to ensure everyone can still do their jobs with animals around.
- Pet allergies and phobias. Allergies are common, with about 30% getting asthma attacks from close contact with cats. Employee health must be taken into account before pets are introduced into the environment. Even more serious are phobias of certain animal types—not just due to the fear, but because with more common pet types, some people may be ashamed to admit the phobia and suffer through it. This may ruin their performance and possibly their mental health.
- Distractions or loud noised like a doorbell may set the entire workplace into a frenzy. Not a professional way to meet your next big client. By using a visitor management system like Greetly you can keep the office running smoothly for pets and important visitors.
- Legal issues. Although this can be managed through tightly controlling where pets go and who they can be around, the company is responsible for anything the animals do if this type of policy is enacted. Imagine anything a dog can do that you might get sued for and decide if that's a risk you're willing to take.
Under the right circumstances, allowing pets into the workplace can be a great boon. Employee happiness and productivity can rise. However, it is not without concerns and you must ensure all workers are comfortable in their work environment. Our recommendation is to start slowly. Consider allowing pets one day a week, and if it works out, build on the policy from there.