Workplaces are going to the dogs— and that’s a good thing! Leaving your pet behind at the start of your workday can be a bit heartbreaking. When your dog or cat gives you those sad eyes, what are you supposed to do? You’ve got to go to work, right? Well, there are some of us who are fortunate to bring our pets with us to the office, and we’ve got good news for you: it turns out that having pets in the office actually boosts employee performance levels and workplace productivity.

Are Animals the Key to Workplace Productivity?

Let us count how animals will increase workplace productivity, boost employee morale, and give everyone warm fuzzies.

1. Animals are stress reducers

Got a stressful workload that is making your blood boil? A quick snuggle with your animal companion can help keep your blood pressure in check. Little things like petting an animal release stress-reducing endorphins that can calm your nerves and help you focus on the task at hand. A cat’s purr is so healing that it can even reduce physical stress by triggering the body’s natural anti-inflammatory compounds. Sitting in a chair all day can really take its toll, but what better remedy than a purring cat in your lap? Numerous studies confirm that stress decreases workplace productivity. A little boost from a furry friend will go a long way in keeping employees productive and relaxed.

2. They force you to take breaks

Working continuously without a break may seem productive, but the quality of your work suffers. Small, incremental breaks will help you regain focus and get your creative juices flowing. Having animals around reduces the need to schedule breaks because they will occur naturally. If you have dogs in the office, you’ll also be forced to get up and do a little bit of exercise. Even a short walk around the block will stretch your muscles and loosen your joints. There’s no better motivator than a furry friend wagging its tail to get you out of your chair and in the fresh air for a moment. Besides, little breaks to spend time with your animal companion are much better than using your break time to get sucked into things like Facebook, which has an opposite, draining effect.

3. Pets boost morale

There’s a reason why laughter is the best medicine; it improves your mood, stretches the muscles in your face, and speeds up your heart rate in a similar way that exercise does. Nothing quite tickles our funny bones the way animals do, with their hilarious facial expressions, quirky personalities, and silly antics. Having pets around will add just the right amount of humor to boost employee morale and increase workplace productivity. Funny pets can also become a branding moment. You just need one funny animal workplace video to go viral, and suddenly your company is the talk of social media. I mean, all it takes is one pygmy goat, and suddenly your brand has reached over a million people.

4. Pets are a great recruiting tool

Recruiting the right employees can be costly and time-consuming. Why not increase your chances of attracting the right person by offering a pet-friendly work environment? Many professionals are seeking to telecommute positions just so they don’t have to abandon their pets every day. Allowing your employees to bring their pets to work will also reduce your employee turnover rate since such a valuable perk will help outweigh offers from other companies. Allowing pets in the office means that employees will stay in the office, reducing your costs and showing your employees that you truly want them as part of your team.

5. Animals Encourage Teamwork

It is rare for a workplace to be without at least some type of conflict or drama. There are many instances where workers feel like they cannot relate to one another or have difficulty feeling empathy due to a lack of shared interests. But introduce pets, and suddenly everyone has something in common. Small things such as smiling at a co-worker’s pet will help your employees feel more connected to one another and, therefore, more willing to operate as a team.

Office Pet Guidelines

It’s important to remember that pets are living beings, and while having them in the workplace offers many benefits, there are some guidelines to follow.

  • If there are employees with animal-related allergies, furry pets are not an option. Consider getting something like an office fish instead. Yes, even fish have their benefits.
  • Only well-behaved animals are allowed. The last thing you want is a dog fight in the office. That will have the opposite effect of boosting morale, we can assure you.
  • Sick pets that are contagious must stay at home.
  • Employees have to take responsibility for cleaning up after their pets.
  • Some workplaces are not safe for pets. If this is the case, consider having one day a month in which a therapy animal visits. Even a one-hour session can increase worker productivity.

Another option is to have just one workplace pet. Much like the token guinea pig or hamster from our elementary school days, an office pet is one that belongs to everyone. The opportunities for team building and increasing morale are obvious, and a workplace mascot is something special for your company’s brand. Just make sure that someone takes the pet home over the holidays.

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