Pets at work can be enjoyable, safe and beneficial – and having them there is an increasingly common employee benefit. But before you jump right into having Fido show up with his owner on Monday morning, be sure you weigh the pros and cons, be aware of any related concerns, and take a few other preliminary steps.
Sharing their workplace with pets can enhance the employee experience in a number of ways including:
- Lower absenteeism. Pet owners may be less likely to come in late, leave early, miss work or have to leave midday to take care of their furry friends at home. This also leads to better work/life balance.
- Stress reduction. Especially when people are working on a tough assignment or tight deadline, the presence of a pet nearby can be calming and comforting. In some cases, this can lower common cardiovascular responses to stress, such as an elevated heart rate or high blood pressure.
- Improved recruitment and retention. Especially among millennials and Gen Z workers, the desire to bring pets to work is a growing trend.
- Enhanced morale. Allowing pets at work shows your employees that you care about them, which can make them feel happier, more engaged, and more loyal.
Among the most common concerns around pets at work are:
- Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), allergies can be considered an official disability in some cases. Request that employees bathe their pets regularly to minimize allergic reactions. You may also need to install HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters and/or designate some workplace areas as pet-free zones.
- Pet phobias can lead to increased heart rates, sweating, nausea, difficulty breathing, shaking or tremors, crying, or restlessness.
- Trip hazards: Pets will be laying on the floor, or there may be a risk of stepping on a toy, a leash, or a puddle of water from a bowl. Proper communication and training can address these and any other potential hazards.
Tips for a Pet-Friendly Work Environment
Take a sensible approach to implementing a pet-friendly environment at your workplace by:
- Surveying employees regarding any pet allergies, fears, or other concerns.
- Crafting a comprehensive pet policy. Clearly outline what is and is not permitted. Be as specific as possible in listing the details, i.e., which animal types are allowed and guidelines on pet temperament, hygiene and behavior.
- Providing proper training. Inform everyone of all the rules and procedures, such as those that pertain to feeding and petting animals, reporting any problems, and sharing common areas with pets. Likewise, make sure all pets who share your workplace are well trained to avoid problems or incidents.
Developing and implementing the best, most attractive benefit options is key to your success as an employer, especially in today’s competitive talent market. Call on Accurate Staffing Consultants to help as you boost your benefit offerings and build your winning recruitment and retention strategy. Reach out to us today to learn more.