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Does a Pet-Friendly Office Work?

dog in a modern pet-friendly office

There’s no doubt that most people get excited at the site of a furry friend. Whether you’re walking down the street or seeing a picture, animals can easily turn your day around. But is there a place for our pets in the office of the future? Some might find it to be a distraction in the office but for those who embrace it, does it impact how they work? It turns out that not only welcoming pets into the office might do more than just improve employee satisfaction. A pet-friendly office can change our workplace experience.

Including your furry companion in your day-to-day can directly affect how you work, how your employees work, and how everyone approaches their day. However, there’s a debate when it comes to the practicality of bringing your dog to work. Does it distract employees more than they help? Are there ways to replicate how dogs make employees feel? Oh, and allergies. Making a dog a part of your workday isn’t for everyone, but it might benefit you and your employees more than you think.

Do Pets Improve Our Well-being?

To understand the impact that our pets have on our well-being in the office, it’s important to understand what employee well-being is. Employee well-being is the overall outlook and satisfaction that employees get from their everyday careers. Are employees satisfied with the environment they work in? Is there a physical part of their job that offers some level of enjoyment? Do employees have a sense of connection with those they work in?

Employee well-being is something companies strive to improve. Whether it’s wellness initiatives or encouraging a sense of community, it’s often a focus when designing an office. But can four legs and a wagging tail make up for falling short of other efforts to improve wellbeing?

It turns out that dogs have a major impact on our mental health in and out of the office. According to the American Psychiatric Association, pets can help build a sense of family, relieve stress, and even help improve team morale. The positive impact on mental health and productivity transcends a lot of other employee well-being efforts.

Here are just a few of the numbers from the study. Those who found their pets made a difference in their mental health reported a few really important benefits:

  • Reduced anxiety and stress – 69%
  • Calming presence – 66%
  • Love and support – 69%
  • Companionship – 69%

An office that finds themselves falling short of improving these areas might benefit from a fury companion the most. A dog is a game changer for the office and its employees.

How do Pets Help us Work?

Aside from the obvious joy an animal can bring us, what can a pet in the office do to help? According to Harvard Business Review, it’s much more than just companionship. Pets in the office are the perfect tool for recruitment and retention. As employees navigated the landscape of remote work during the pandemic, pet owners found themselves spending more time and quality time throughout the day. However, returning to work – even partially – has effectively taken that relationship and companionship away. Now more than ever, there’s a need to address that.

With one in five families having a furry friend, asking employees the drastically reduce their time spent with their companions, allowing pets in the office is a very attractive perk. For employees who are dealing with the struggle of having to choose their jobs over their pets, being able to bring your pet to work can help remove factors that might be barring them from returning to work. Bringing pets to work is a win-win for everyone. But does one pet only benefit one employee? It turns out a pet can affect the whole office.

Including a pet in your office can improve collaboration and connection. A pet gives something for employees to bond over. It can help build relationships. It introduces a common interest in the workplace. The bond between others that pets can help build easily translates into cooperation, connection, and successful collaboration.

Are there Challenges with Pets in the Office?

While there are undeniable benefits of bringing a pet into the office, there are some who find it to be problematic. Concerns that employees have with introducing pets into the office are quite valid.

The traditional office usually maintains a sense of professionalism and some think introducing a pet into the office can contribute to removing that professionalism. Some also find the thought of a pet can sacrifice cleanliness.

Some employees might view pets in the office as a distraction. Pets aren’t always easy to communicate with. They don’t always listen and they might not realize when it’s time for focused work. There’s a lot that goes into the successful integration of pets in the office. A lot of factors and willingness to change have to take place before employees embrace pets in the office. However, even those that might be against the idea, might end up welcoming a furry companion in the end.

Is a Pet-Friendly Office Right for You?

Like many decisions made in the office, it depends on your team and the scope of work. Designing a pet-friendly office requires an open-minded group of employees. It has to work for everyone in the office or it can cause more problems than it will solve. It’s a good idea to ease into a pet-friendly office.

Any good business decision that affects employees is best started with employee feedback. Are your employees open to the idea? Do they understand the positive impact a pet can have on the office? Understanding employee concerns and keeping them in mind when making any major changes can make the transition to a pet-friendly office much easier. Who knows, even employees who don’t like pets might embrace the idea the most.

Contact StrongProject today to learn how our design team can help you build the office that fits your needs!

Interesting in learning more about unique modern office designs? Check out these related topics:

Redefining Workspaces: The Comprehensive Guide to Hybrid Workplace Design

Flexible Office Design: Creating Spaces That Work for Everyone



Photos by Atul Mohan, Photo by KATRIN BOLOVTSOVA, and Image by Aristal Branson from Pixabay.

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