Many enlightened companies are encouraging employees to bring their animal companions to work. Pets in the workplace is not an entirely new concept.
Here and there, offices and business places had a token pet roaming the halls and sleeping on file cabinets. These special animals mainly belonged to the business owner or were in small offices and never seen by the public. What’s new is that the idea is becoming more mainstream. In large workplaces, it’s not unusual to have 20 or 30 pets strolling around the area. They also may be visiting with various employees as well as sitting with their owners.
Most pet parents are well aware of the advantages of having a pet and how their animals can help them relax and overcome stress. Recent studies have shown that what works for the individual or families at home also works collectively in the workplace.
Just as one person’s bad mood can pass off to other people, so can a smile or cheerfulness become a day-brightener. Not many people can resist a chuckle or smile at the antics of animals. Just looking at their happy faces and wagging tails brings a good feeling. It can also bring an atmosphere of relaxation.
Anyone who walks a dog in the local dog park knows how people make connections through their pets. This same benefit happens in the workplace. People who work in large offices do not always know every other employee very well. However, when a dog or cat is brought to the office and someone stops by another employee’s desk or cubicle to interact with the pet, a new friendship is often born. Having animals on the scene helps make connections among employees and fosters a sense of community. Finally, having pets in the workplace increases cooperation and a feeling of common goals among employees.
While a pet-friendly office certainly contributes to an overall comfortable and casual work environment, not everyone has a pet or will wish to participate. In fact, it’s possible that pets in the workplace will present a problem for some people.
For example, consideration must be shown to those who have allergies or even have a fear of animals. Special accommodations should be made for such employees. No employees should be forced into an uncomfortable situation or faced with seeking employment elsewhere. Finally, it also needs to be understood that any pet brought to work must be clean, groomed, and well-behaved so no safety issues arise.
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