Are pets a distraction in the office?
Studies show that allowing pets to be in the office is a stress reliever for employers, but it also comes with liability for the company. Almost all of my employees have dogs and some have asked to work remotely part of the week because they don't have help with their pet during the day. I prefer to have my employees in the office for the majority of the week. Should I allow our space to be pet-friendly?
Pets in the office are a distraction, but a good distraction for the workplace if the employees who choose to bring their pets to work can follow the pet policy guidelines set by the company. When coming up with a pet policy that is best for the company, be sure to include employees in the discussion who are pet owners and non-pet owners to prevent biased guidelines. Common guidelines in a company's pet policy typically include:
1. Pets must be vaccinated.
2. Pets must be trained and well-behaved.
3. The office should have designated pet-free zones.
The Business.com team recently published an article that expands on these guidelines and includes additional guidelines that companies should follow if they decide to allow pets in the office: https://www.business.com/articles/office-pets-policy/
Most important is your employee's well-being and safety in the workplace. Pets brought to the office should have no history of aggression and be well socialized with both people and other animals. Your employees should have the good judgment to know whether their pet can meet the pet policy guidelines set above or not.
We allow pets in our office occasionally, and it's been a welcome productivity break and morale booster for the team. With that said, the pets (mostly dogs) that have come to work have been very well-trained and controlled. Clients have also seemed to enjoy seeing the pets when they visit our office. If you can come up with a pet policy that fits your company culture and trust your employees to follow it, I think it's a great idea.
pets are our best friends, but I sustain that in the office they can create confusion mainly for people don't match too much with them.... tension may growth undoubtedly....
1: it depends on the pet and the office vibe.
2: consider carefully how they would interface with staff, clients, each other.
3: consider allowing only those pets who have graduated from school(obedience, therapy animal or similar)
4: establish rules and requirements as well as consequences if violated and be sure your liability policy covers it.
5 I have pets in my home office, who sleep most of the day, and love it. But it is not for everyone.
We have an office cat. It's my cat, and it's my home office, so the cat lives here and is very comfortable coming up to the office to visit. She's not much of a distraction and for the few of us who work in this office (and not remotely) it's nice to give her a chin rub or some treats now and then during the work day.
I think if it's the business owner's pet, it's one thing, if it's all the employees bringing in a pet, it could present a problem. Most people think dogs, not cats, when bringing in pets to the office (couldn't really see multiple cats who didn't already know each other sharing an office well!). Not all dogs are well behaved. Not all dogs get along with other dogs either. Dogs bark, they jump up on things, they need to be taken out to do their business, they could even bite someone (and you could be liable for it). Not saying it's totally not workable, but you'll have to think of all the things that could go wrong. I think most of the studies done showing pets in the office as stress relievers are with really well behaved pets and in very controlled environments.
Being pet friendly is great if you have a way to set rules on where the dogs are and if you have a special area of them to play. How do you separate from customer meetings as some customers may not enjoy dogs (even the smell which may be another concern) and they could be a distraction during meetings. I work from home so I am with my dog. Some days he really wants to play and with no other dog around, I find myself playing instead of working. This means I work later into the evening and don't spend time with my husband, but he is the one playing with the dog all the time then! :-)
I would agree that if you will definitely and seriously consider this option that you plan for the initial capital to make it a success (for all). I do see a lot of advantages to having this as, just like parents if the kids or pets are with you the need to leave or take off may be limited. I also believe that it can help to relieve the stress level and even boost morale. On the other side it can be distracting especially for those afraid of animals. So an option would be, as also mentioned to build out a separate section or supervised area where the pet parents can drop off and visit their pets at breaks, during lunch in addition to having hours where the facility can accommodate those that want them to work later.
I think that you should consider the investment in the capital, but do your research first (i.e. how many employees own dogs and would they utilize this for a minimal fee that can be taken directly out of their check, what policy will you implement) to see if its right for your and your company. You will probably see a positive return in your employee morale and recruiting new hires due to this option.
If you did not already know, there is also an annual event called "TAKE YOUR DOG TO WORK DAY" that you can celebrate when you want the pets to work with their pet parents in the office vs. the attached daycare or to test out the option. Maybe you can make it every other Friday. Our office celebrates this annual event and we do try our best to integrate kid and pet parents into our companies work life balance as we feasibly can. As a matter of fact our office celebrated Take your dog to work day today 6/24/2016. Here are more articles on the event and the idea of taking your dog to work.
As always for liability purposes ensure that you receive proper counseling.
Definitely. The question then becomes, is it good or bad to be distracted every once in a while. In my experience, I get "laser focused" on tasks so I generally welcome a wet nose or cat purring to break me out of that. I find I'm more productive if I can stop every once in a while and let my mind wander. That said, it really depends on the specific situation. In my scenario, I'm referring to a rather sedate golden retriever vice a dog demanding attention continuously.
Mr Thomas, my perspective is that it is not advisable to have pets at the workplace. Customers coming to your office may also not like it as the dogs may bark when seeing strangers and may be even bite. The workplace needs to be dignified, and no distractions. I also see that some employees are asking for working remotely. So where is the loyalty to the company and their job? This gives a strong indication about where their priorities are. So you cant expect productivity having such employees even a day with you as their concentration is elsewhere. Florence MacDonald