The Workplace and Pets

The Workplace and Pets

Posted 2016-11-23 by Marie Vonowfollow
June 24th is internationally celebrated as, 'Take Your Dog to Work Day.' On this day employers are encouraged to allow staff to bring their dog to work if appropriate and safe. Pets, primarily dogs and less often cats, are occasionally found in a workplace on a regular basis. Some people have found advantages to having a pet around when they are at work. However, there are also disadvantages.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

In the past it has not been unusual to see an aquarium of fish in a waiting room. The rationale has been that watching fish reduces stress and it probably worked for staff as well as clients..

Image courtesy of Pixabay

These days there are workplaces with a dog or cat friendly policy which suits some workers but not others.

Advantages of pets in the workplace
It has been claimed when there are pets at work:
  • morale is boosted
  • staff are less stressed. This claim was supported by a 2012 study done at Virginia Commonwealth University
  • staff are more productive
  • employees are more creative
  • pets provide extra company if there are only a couple of humans in the office
  • when the day is going badly someone takes the dog out for a walk to unwind and will return in a more positive frame of mind
  • dogs encourage workers to get more exercise
  • having a dog at work helps employees keep things in perspective
  • workers are more polite and friendly to each other
  • it is good for the pet because it isn't alone for long hours each work day

  • In Japan where many people live in an apartment with a 'no pets' policy an internet solutions company has taken on nine rescue cats. Employees say they are less stressed because they can spend time stroking and interacting with the cats. The antics of the felines help staff to lighten up.

    Image courtesy of Pixabay

    Disadvantages of pets in the workplace
    Disadvantages include:
  • some people are allergic to dogs or cats with symptoms including breathing difficulties, rashes and panic attacks
  • unsuitable environment for those with pet phobias
  • can be a distraction from work
  • takes time away from work for those taking care of the pet
  • pets can behave in an unpredictable manner especially if frightened or stepped on
  • risk of injury to a worker if pet bites
  • risk of legal repercussions if pet injures someone

  • Negative aspects experienced by the Japanese internet business with the nine cats include cats
  • switch off computers
  • chew LAN cables
  • walk on keyboards
  • tear up paper
  • scratch the office walls.
  • It is claimed staff are not bothered by these behaviours.

    Workplaces where pets wouldn't fit in
    Hazardous or noisy work sites such as those involved in mining, construction and machining are unsuitable for pets. They would be frightened by the noise and could be injured or cause accidents if they were wandering around.

    Image courtesy of Pixabay

    Some people would love to be able to take their pet to work or interact with pets belonging to co workers during their working day. Other people, even some who are pet lovers, wouldn't welcome pets in their workplace.


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