Many progressive companies today allow workers to bring their pets to their places of business. Allowing pets into a workplace can improve a company’s image and attract talented workers that are looking for this sort of perk, but it can also bring a fair share of problems. Before deciding to make your workplace pet friendly, consider the following pros and cons.

Reduce Pet Owner Stress

When employees can bring their pets to work, it reduces the stress that comes with working long hours and feeling guilty for leaving a pet home alone. Pet owners may save money by not having to hire someone to tend to their pet, especially if the workplace is a far commute from home. Having a companion animal nearby has also shown to have a soothing effect for many people, which may extend beyond just pet owners.

Cause Stress for Some Workers

Unfortunately, not all people are soothed by the presence of animals. Employees that have allergies or that are afraid of animals may feel uncomfortable or threatened by a pet friendly workplace. In some cases, these employees may choose to quit rather than voice their complaints in opposition to pet-loving coworkers, which could have a negative impact on turnover.

Encourage Communication

Pets tend to bring people with different backgrounds and interests together, so having pets in the workplace could encourage communication. Since pets will demand care and attention, it may become a team effort to take animals out periodically and to make sure fresh water is available. This could serve as a natural team building effort.

Distract Employees from Tasks

Animals are unpredictable and cannot be expected to sit still through the workday. Animals may chew on equipment, make messes on carpets, spill drinks, become noisy, get into inappropriate areas, and become upset or excited. Tending to animals may interrupt work for long periods of time, possibly decreasing productivity or prolonging the workday.

Improve Company Culture and Image

Being allowed to bring a pet to work can be an attractive draw for candidates and can prompt some employees to stay on rather than give up the benefit. Pet friendliness tends to make a workplace seem more fun and conducive to creativity. If everyone in the workplace enjoys the policy, it may also enhance the company culture.

Create Potential Lawsuit Situations

Animals have the ability to bite and scratch employees, which can create a health hazard and a lawsuit situation. Animals can also contaminate products or put themselves and employees at risk if there is dangerous equipment or chemicals in accessible areas. The potential for hazards should be seriously weighed and precautions should be taken before implementing a pet policy.

Deciding Upon Pet Friendliness

If you do decide to make your company a pet friendly workplace, a thorough pet policy should be drafted. Detailing which types of pets are allowed, how they should be contained, what conditions may cause them to be banned, and who is responsible for pet care and costs sustained may help to mitigate future issues. Being aware of the pros and cons can help you to make your pet policy as comfortable and enjoyable as possible for all of your workers.

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