Question: Are office pets a distraction, or an essential workplace companion?
We think the latter.
Earlier this year, Jura the Vizsla became the latest member of the Situu team and since then she has put a smile on all of our faces every day of the week.
We firmly believe that office pets are a great way of improving team productivity, wellbeing and cohesion. Here are 5 reasons why you should consider making your workplace a pet-friendly space.
1 – Pawsitive mental attitude
Few things improve employee wellbeing and mental health as effectively as an office pet. Studies show that just 10 minutes of interacting with cats and dogs can see a significant reduction in blood pressure, stress and anxiety.
Conversations around mental health and wellbeing have grown in recent years, as around 1 in 6.8 people are said to experience mental health problems in the workplace. An office pet can be a simple and effective way of reducing that figure in your business, and showing your employees that you are committed to supporting them.
2 – The art of confursation
Struggling to bring your team together? Pets are a great conversation starter, making it easier for employees to step outside of their comfort zone and socialise with the team. We all remember those awkward first moments when you join a new team and can’t think of anything remotely interesting to say but, by letting your office pets be the talk of the town, you can skip past the formalities and provide an easy talking point for your team.
That goes for external clients too. A cute pet can be a great way of getting clients to lower their guard during meetings, and is a smart negotiation tactic in the long run!
3 – Not in the doghouse
Pets can make a workplace feel less like an office and more like a home away from home, naturally improving work-life balance. That’s great for attracting talented millennials to your team too – who value work-life balance above all else.
With so many of us having become accustomed to working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic, the importance of a workplace which taps into those home comforts cannot be overstated. Having pets within arm’s reach of your desk has become the norm, and your workplace should reflect that.
4 – Have a break, have a kit cat
Pets need attention, which forces you to take breaks. Rather than reducing productivity, these breaks actually give you time you need to let your creativity recharge. It’s far too easy for employees nowadays to sit down at their desk and not leave their seats until it’s time for them to go home. But such long hours of intense focus naturally reduce our energy levels, draining us over time and leaving us with little left in the tank to work to the best of our ability.
Not only do office pets force you to take breaks, they also give you something to do on those breaks, which is equally important. No more wasted lunch breaks just looking at your phone (another screen) for an hour! 67% of employees who take pets to work agree their pet makes them more productive, and that brings great commercial benefit to their businesses.
5 – It’s good for the pets, too!
Bringing your pets to work means you don’t feel guilty for abandoning them at home, so that you can be sure your pet is getting enough exercise, food and socialisation for the majority of their day. A happier pet equals a happier owner, and this peace of mind will allow you to focus more clearly on the work in front of you.
This has only become even more crucial as a result of COVID-19. 3.2 million UK households acquired a pet since the start of the pandemic, and not all of them can be left at home! The majority of those pets will be accustomed to seeing their owners every minute of every day; it might be easier for everyone if you allow that to continue once these owners return to their desks.
A landlord’s new best friend?
To call pet-friendly offices a “craze” is wrong. It is now the norm for pets to come to work. If you don’t adapt to it, you could be missing out on a whole host of great future employees who put pet-friendly workplaces towards the top of their priorities.
That goes for landlords too. Landlords who fail to move with the times and don’t welcome pets to their offices could be missing out on a number of great tenants. It may be scary at first, but in reality the journey to becoming a pet-friendly workplace is much less stress than you might first think.
Want to learn how you can ensure your workplace is a pet-friendly haven? Just get in touch with a member of the Situu team!