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Pets in the Workplace

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It’s becoming increasingly more common for workplaces to allow pets, especially dogs, to come in with their owners.

What are the pros and cons of people having their pets at work with them?

Positives of Having Pets at Work

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Pets are naturally able to reduce their owners’ stress levels. Petting dogs can decrease peoples’ blood pressure. Here are some other ways having pets at work may be positive for workers and companies:

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  • Productivity can improve. Workers who aren’t busy being concerned about their pet that is left at home alone can concentrate better and be more productive.
  • Camaraderie may increase. People bond over a shared love of pets. Having animals in the office can provide conversation starters and bring workers closer together. Bonded co-workers are more productive than those who are often at odds.
  • Happiness increases. People who love pets may be happier at work with their furry friend there. And happier workers are usually better workers.
  • Health may improve. Less stress, lower blood pressure, and more exercise during the day when workers take walks with their dogs during break times can all lead to better physical health for employees. This is good for the company in the long run, who may lose less to workers’ sick days.
  • It might be good for your pet. Some pets may respond positively to being able to go to work with you rather than spending the day alone and bored.

You can learn more about pets and stress here: “How Do Pets Help Reduce Stress?

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Negatives of Having Pets at Work

There are some potential negatives for having pets at work. These include:

  • Pet allergies. Workers with pet allergies may have serious issues if others are bringing their dogs or cats into the workspace.
  • Some people don’t like pets. There are some people who don’t like animals. They might be afraid of them, or maybe they have other reasons for disliking them. For those people, having pets in the workplace will add stress.
  • Pets may be distractions. If a pet is not particularly well-behaved or has a tendency to whine, bark, or otherwise act in a manner that can keep people from concentrating, he or she might be a distraction for the people in the office.
  • There may be safety concerns. Having pets in the office may lead to the potential for an animal or worker to be injured or property to be damaged. Individuals and supervisors may need to make decisions about the suitability of particular pets to be allowed at work, and that could lead to hard feelings.
  • Some businesses are not conducive to having pets around. There are some work environments that simply don’t make pet-friendly spaces. They may be too cramped, too formal, or unsafe for pets.

Pet-Friendly Workplaces Are Becoming More Common

It’s increasingly more common for workplaces to be pet-friendly. If an employer is advertised as being a place where pets are welcome, those who don’t like or are allergic to animals can simply look for another place to apply.

These pet-friendly workplaces usually have corresponding regulations specific to the pets that are allowed to be brought in, which increases the safety of the workers and pets involved.

If your workplace is one that allows you to bring your pet, be sure to give some thought to all of the logistics associated with it. Be sure your pet is up-to-date on any vaccinations your veterinarian recommends for the situation. Always keep safety in mind; this will look different for each individual pet. Perhaps a closed office door is enough, or maybe your dog needs to have a long leash on, to keep him or her in your cubicle.

Be realistic with yourself about your pet’s personality and needs, as well. If your dog is nervous and you feel that your co-workers may be at risk for a bite, don’t bring your pet to work.

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