Pets in the Office: Rough or Rad?

By swimcreative

With the exponential popularity of everything kitten and puppy, it would seem our furry friends are having a heyday, nay, hey-decade. More people in the United States own pets than ever before. According to The Humane Society of the United States, 62 percent of U.S. households have a pet. As this number rises, so does the amount of businesses and organizations that allow pets in the office. But is this a good thing—does having an animal in the office help or hurt office culture and productivity?

There’s valid arguments for both sides:

Downside

1. Allergies

There’s a million of them in the world and many of them are to animal fur. Being surrounded by your body’s worst enemy can be a heavy burden for employees.

2. Liabilities

There are law firms, like Dog Bite Law, dedicated to dog bite victims. Most pets are well behaved, but an animal is an animal and just reacts, and the company could be held responsible.

3. Sanitation

Animals are dirty. They love to shed hair, don’t remember to wipe their paws when they enter, and occasionally, they have an accident. None of this bodes well for employees and clients who like neat spaces.

4. Damage

Another nuisance of pets is their abilities for ruining things in the cutest way possible. This can be acceptable at your own home, but when it’s someone else’s or company property, issues can arise.

Upside

1. Positivity

A study conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University showed that employees were less stressed throughout the day when an animal was present.

2. Productivity

The same study found that there may be a correlation between a more efficient work team and office pets.

3. Collaboration

According to research done by Central Michigan University in 2010, having an office dog drove up communication and teamwork between employees.

4. Entertainment

Who can refuse to laugh at a happy dog chasing after a ball, or smile after a shy cat rubs up against their leg? Animals, especially dogs, love to be affectionate and are a simple pleasure on those days when nothing seems to be going right.

Our Thoughts

At Swim, we are all for pets in the office. That being said, there are some criteria pups have to pass to hang with the Swim Team. They have to be well trained; we don’t want pets that bite or bark. One of our current dogs, Scout, is on probation for barking at the mailman a bit too often. (This is specifically against the Pool Rules hanging on our wall).

An office pet should also be pretty mellow and get along with other animals and humans. If they follow these basic rules, we are glad to have them. There’s nothing better than walking into work and being greeted by a chipper Border Collie, tail wagging a billion miles a minute, ready to make your day.

Scout

For those of you on the fence about allowing pets in the workplace, here’s a handy article for help on making a decision: Should Your Company Open Its Doors to Employees’ Furry Friends?

Not sure which breed fits at your office? Check out Fast Company‘s infographic, The World’s Best Dogs, According To Math.

Your Thoughts

What are your thoughts on pets in the workplace? Let us know in the comments below!

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