The Benefits of a Pet-Friendly Workplace
Friday, June 24 is going to be one of the happiest weekdays of the year because it’s Take Your Dog to Work Day! But will all those excitable canines be too disruptive for your non-pet owner colleagues, or are there benefits to a pet-friendly workplace?
It’s always a sad moment bidding farewell to one’s pet before leaving for work each morning. The joy of pet parenthood is only tempered by the guilt of leaving your best buddy indoors all day. And, since the vast majority of employers aren’t pet-friendly, it’s almost impossible to bypass that guilt.
The argument against having pets in the workplace is fairly obvious. Animals can be pretty distracting (how can you resist wanting to pet them all day?) and occasionally they can create a bit of mess, after all.
But a recent survey by Banfield Pet Hospital has shed new light on the matter. Among the many positives, it found animals actually increase productivity in pet-friendly workplaces. And when you consider the long list of companies that have successfully adopted these policies – Google, Etsy, Amazon, Ben & Jerry’s, Clif Bar, to name a few – as well as the fact that most pets are super low-maintenance, you start to wonder. Shouldn’t every day be Take Your Dog to Work Day?
Benefits of Pets in the Workplace
Prolonged hours away from our furry family members are always hard, which makes this Friday even more special. But what impact should we expect?
Banfield’s survey is full of wonderfully positive information. From the 1,006 employees and 200 Human Resource decision makers interviewed, it found that pets in the workplace reduce stress and improve morale, office relationships as well as personal satisfaction with work.
But does any of this come as a surprise? Anyone who’s ever had a bad day knows it’s always a joy to arrive home to their pets. They offer judgment-free, unconditional love.
Pets – dogs in particular – are commonly used as ’therapy animals’ because of their proven ability to increase happiness as well as lower depression and stress. Activ4Pets strongly believes that many pets truly help humans and vice versa, we even met a therapy pig named Wilbur one time at our animal shelter partner’s event!
Animals clearly have a positive impact on our lives. Some of the other benefits include:
- Provide comfort
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve cardiovascular health
- Reduce loneliness
- Increase socialization
- Release endorphins that have a calming effect
Institutions like Boston University, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Iowa, have smartly capitalized on this and regularly hold therapy dog events to help students lower anxiety and stress during finals.
While we can’t measure exactly how much happier pets make us, it’s fair to say they significantly improve our mood. And, apparently, they have the ability to make offices more productive. So is your employer missing a trick by not offering a pet-friendly environment?
So what about employees who aren’t allowed to bring their pets to work?
Difficulties arise when pets get sick. You only have to go as far as a Google search to discover the myriad of disgruntled pet parents who weren’t allowed to take time off for an unwell pet. Many go as far as lying to their employer so they can care for their animals.
And, given that most pet owners think of their pets as family members, it isn’t surprising. Your employer wouldn’t balk at giving you time off to attend to a sick child. So what’s the difference?
Adding a pet to your family could potentially be problematic too. New pets (especially puppies, kittens, and some shelter animals) require lots of attention when they arrive home. Between training and housebreaking, it’s a time of big responsibility. But, since that probably won’t sit well with your employer, what’s the solution?
‘Paw-ternity’ has been successfully implemented in the UK. It’s a policy where an employer recognizes pet owners as parents and gives them time off when their furry family members need extra care and attention. The movement is gaining traction in the US and more and more employers are, thankfully, offering pet-friendly benefits like insurance and veterinary discounts.
Activ4Pets is your all-in-one Pet Health mobile assistant:
Activ4Pets is now offered as an employee benefit for corporations and provides a clever compromise when pets get sick.
e-Consultations allow members to speak to a licensed veterinarian via webcam. Pet owners can quickly establish if they need to bring their animal in for treatment right away, or reschedule for a later, more convenient time (i.e. after work hours). While the pet owner gets instant peace of mind on their beloved family member, the employer also saves in any lost productivity due to employee absence.
Ever been caught short at the boarders/groomers without your pet’s up-to-date vaccination record? Activ4Pets tells the complete story of your pet’s health by transferring their health history to your smartphone and computer. Medications, allergies and more are at your fingertips, plus you can set reminders for all your important pet care appointments!
If your employer doesn’t offer Activ4Pets as a benefit, fear not! You can still sign up by clicking here.
Acti4Pets wishes you a Happy (and productive) Take Your Dog to Work Day! Enjoy spending the day with your best friend by your side!