This concept might be unthinkable for many employers but give it some thought. Surely some of your employees have pets they’ve left alone at home.
People get pets for various reasons but in general, they’re just fun to be around. They’re good to return to after a long day at work. But what if they came to work with you?
At Nestlé headquarters, staff are allowed to bring their dogs to work. As a company that also produces pet food, this has been useful for maintaining a good company image.
Workers who want to bring a pet are given a detailed questionnaire about their pet’s behaviour. An independent dog specialist reviews the animal’s behaviour and if approved they join Nestlé’s Pets at Work (PAW) programme, receiving a ‘passpawt’.
Some of the benefits for their working environment could be enjoyed by your workplace too. Take a look at some of the potential benefits below:
Happy workers = productive workers
Having an animal around can work wonders for peoples’ moods. In a work environment where deadlines are piling up and the clock seems to be moving at a snail’s pace, introducing something new and fun can be just the boost that your employees need.
Animals can create a happier, calmer atmosphere. With a reduction in stress, your employees are free to focus on the work and think more clearly. While a portion of their time might include stroking a dog that occasionally wanders past, the time they do spend working will be much more efficient and gladly spent by a happier worker.
For some reason babies and animals seem to encourage spontaneous conversation better than anything else (except maybe the weather in Britain).
A dog in the office is a magnet that people can’t resist coming over to meet. People from different departments who you’ve never spoken to will suddenly start to engage more. This can help with inter-departmental relations in such a simple way.
Friendly company image
Sharing information and pictures of this over social media can add a lot to a brand especially if it’s all feeling a little too corporate online. People increasingly dislike seeing faceless corporations and creating a brand based on people and personality can go a long way in being memorable and trustworthy.
Studies have found that animals, particularly dogs can actually cause heart rates to reduce. They can lower blood pressure and stress too. This is all helpful for a productive working environment. The benefits can be great at no expense.
Good for the pets too
It’s no secret that dogs hate being left on their own. It can cause stress and fear for them. While many people don’t have much of a choice but to leave their dogs at home, a pets at work policy could help your furry friends’ wellbeing as well as your colleagues.
So if it’s so great, why doesn’t everyone do it? While many people are happy to have a dog or two roaming around the office, there are some things you should also take into account before you start bringing animals into the workplace.
Anyone with allergies isn’t going to benefit from the happier environment that everyone else might enjoy. You might want to check with your co-workers before you bring in an animal or keep them away from people who are allergic.
Health and safety
Some environments aren’t the best place for an animal. While most offices will be safe enough, an animal on the loose might be tempted to knock things over which can cause some health and safety concerns, particularly if they get into the staff kitchen.
So in the interests of health and safety consider how well a dog would fit into your office and highlight any potential concerns or safety issues before bringing them in.
Not all animals are as fun to be around as others and some will use the opportunity of a new environment and the attention of others to act out a little. This might mean animals stealing food, making a mess, barking at delivery drivers or otherwise being a nuisance. You might get a few laughs from other workers but it could end up being a distraction.
This could be an issue if you have a widespread policy that allows animals into the office. Dogs in particular may end up fighting with each other if there are a few of them in the same space.
In this instance you might want to set up a rotational policy where there’s only one dog in the office or a certain area at one time to avoid any fights. You don’t want the owners spending all day trying to control their dogs when they really could do with working.
If you’re considering giving this idea a go, it’s worth doing a trial or even taking part in Bring Your Dog to Work Day which takes place every year on the 24th June. If it goes well, you might end up making it a regular policy.