Here at Workhub we share a special love for animals. Between contributing to animal charities, such as the Meow Foundation, to having a group on Microsoft Teams where coworkers share photos of their various pets, you could say that animals are an important part of our company culture. Did you know what Workhub is a pet friendly workplace? That’s right, it is not uncommon to find a dog or two at our team meetings.
As we generally stick to the topic of workplace health and safety when it comes to our blog posts, you might wonder, where do pets fit in? When discussing workplace health and safety, we frequently neglect the “H”, which of course stands for health. Workplace health includes various elements but one of the major aspects is employee wellness. This of course is contributed to by our general work environment, workload and stress levels. “A study by the Virginia Commonwealth University found that when people had their pets around during the workday, they had much lower stress levels than those who had to leave their furry friends at home.”
Because of the numerous benefits, pet friendly workplaces are becoming more common. As noted by cpacanada.ca “At Hootsuite, dog friendliness is tightly woven into the company’s overall ethos. Not only does the social media powerhouse have 93 registered dogs across its Vancouver offices (about 17 to 18 per cent of employees); it also boasts an Instagram profile, as well as hashtags—#hootdogs and #hootsuitelife.”
I think most of us who work at pet friendly organizations can agree that we look forward to a warm hello each day from our fellow furry friends. Although there are many great reasons to work at Workhub, we know our office wouldn’t be nearly as great without our special friends, so below we have listed some of the benefits of pet friendly workplaces:
- Pets help lowers stress levels.
- They contribute to a more positive attitude toward the work environment.
- Lower stress levels and higher workplace satisfaction can contribute to increased productivity.
- Animals are great ice breakers. They can create a sense of community by bring people together, including those coworkers who may feel shy or those who would not normally have a chance to speak or get to know one another.
- Pets are a good way to draw excellent talent to the organization.
Some things to consider
Pet policy – In your policy, include details about damage or possible injury. Specify what types of pets are allowed at work. Is it just dogs or will the policy include other pets such as cats or ferrets for example? Consider logistics like how many pets will be allowed in the office at one time. Think about other factors, such as should coworkers be allowed to feed pets that do not belong to them?
Allergies or sensitivities - Some people suffer from pet allergies. Keep in mind that there are always workarounds for those with sensitivities or allergies to animals, which can include desk proximity to a pet or separate entrances. Many people with pet allergies or sensitives will be ok if they don’t touch the animal.
Animal behavior - Consider some general guidelines around animal behavior, which can be added to your organization’s pet policy. Which animal behaviors will and won’t be tolerated by your organization?
Leasing considerations - If you are a tenant, does your landlord allow pets in the building?
New hires - Be sure to inform potential new hires about your organization's pet policy.
Pets are a valuable addition to the workplace, however there are important factors to consider when implementing a pet friendly workplace. Surveys and polls can be done anonymously and are a good way to get a sense of how employees feel about pets in the workplace. Ultimately, your company’s culture will be a strong indicator of whether a pet friendly policy is right for your organization.
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