Kayleigh: Have you ever thought about or even considered the idea of allowing your employees to bring their pets to work? I can’t tell you how many times my co-workers and I have lightly, jokingly, although completely serious, asked the CEO if we could add that to our already amazing company culture. And she always politely replies with a “no”. Which I’m sure if she felt the need to bring her adorable #TurtleCat to work every day, we all know SHE WOULD.
Maren: Actually I wouldn’t. While #turtlecat ™ is adorable, when I do get the chance to work from home, she chews my computer cord, sits on my lap, bites my feets, meows during conference calls, and pretty much is a brat.
Kayleigh: So why are employers so hesitant to allow employees to bring their family pets to work?
Maren: From an employer perspective, I think the risk of distraction, messes, a smelly office, other employees who may have allergies and general mayhem are all part of the reasons no pets are allowed. Let’s be honest, I can’t get anyone to clean out the coffee pot, how am I going to handle pet bowls? Not to mention the noise. Everyone thinks their pet (and their kids) are adorable, but unless they are yours (or #turtlecat ™) they probs aren’t.
Here we have a sneak peak into famous companies that allow furry little creatures, the positive benefits and unfortunately, the negative drawbacks.
Kayleigh: WELL, GOOGLE DOES IT…
Don’t you love how everyone compares everything to Google? Well Google does it so it must be right, right? Well, it should come as no surprise that Google actually does allow pets and they aren’t the only ones. Companies like Amazon, Etsy, Petco (I mean, why not?), Bissell, and Clif Bar are among the others.
Not only do these companies allow pets, they have services for them. Services such as play groups, play areas, pet trainers, pet walkers, off-site pet sitters, and even pampering services. Paris Hilton is no longer the only one carrying her little pooch around, everyone is doing it.
Jokes aside, studies show that as of 2015 8% of American workplaces have allowed this which is 3% up from 2013. Amazon claims that about 30% of the dog population comes into the office on any given day. That is a lot of pets coming in and out of the office.
Studies show that as of 2015 8% of American workplaces allow employees to bring pets to work. Click To Tweet
Maren: Interesting points. As a small business owner with a payroll that feels anything but, I say nuts to Google (JK, google don’t shut down my entire online life) and Amazon. We have a small company, and a small office that echoes like the bees knees and I know I’m not the only one. What happens when clients (that do not love pets) come in to meet with us and someone’s poodle jumps all over them or worse, they have to leave due to allergies? How do I record a podcast when someone’s St. Bernard is barking? Who do I send the bill to when someone’s Siamese pees on my carpet? I don’t have that kind of time, space or budget. NEXT!
So why are employers jumping on this train? Well, studies show there are several benefits to bringing pets to work.
Kayleigh: Studies have shown that employees who brought their pets to work, stress levels decreased by 11%. Surprisingly, those who were forced to leave their pets at home had a 70% increase in stress levels. Not sure completely what it is about it but physiologically it creates an overall better environment.
Maren: I can’t even…. “forced to leave their pets at home”? If anything expresses the entitlement of the next generation of employees, it’s this right here. I don’t even think I can employ people that are this emotionally fragile.
Employees who were forced to leave their pets at home had a 70% increase in stress levels. Click To Tweet
Hire and Retaining Employees
Kayleigh: Bringing your pet can bring you a sense of home at the workplace. Employees can feel a less need to rush home after work if their pet is already there. Especially for those who work for companies that offer pet walkers, BONUS! This, in turn, can be a benefit to the company because the employee will stick around and work longer hours.
Maren: Interesting point. But here’s the thing. Like many bosses, or anyone who reads this blog, I don’t really want you working late into the night. Studies prove that longer hours do not equal more productivity. I’d rather draw a solid and scent-free line between home and work.
Kayleigh: We all love Millennials and by 2020, they will make up the majority of the workplace as well as the largest generation of dog owners. Allowing pets, especially being one of the 8% that does, will attract a huge candidate pool.
Maren: I love my animals. I am not quite a millennial but I AM thisclose. AND everyone at Red Branch Media is a millennial too, if we ever lose someone or someone turns down a job that pays well, offers unparalleled advancement, gives employees the opportunity to work with some of the world’s biggest brands and employers, and a work-flex schedule, then hot damn, they are dumb.
Kayleigh: I am not a smoker and in the past it seemed only those who smoked could take a smoke break. I always thought to myself, what about those who don’t smoke? Well, here’s another health benefit. Allowing animals in the workplace which will allow a healthy lifestyle for employees. They will be able to take a break, just like a smoke break, only they can use that opportunity to walk their dog. Thus, they are getting exercise and they are getting the much-needed break that will increase productivity and 46 million people agree!
Maren: Fortunately, at Red Branch Media, this just isn’t true. We have wellness breaks (walk breaks when it’s warm enough to go outside) so smokers (we don’t have any ATM) get no more relaxation time than any other group. Why should pet owners? HMMMMMM?
Kayleigh: With any great idea, there is always a con. So what about those who don’t love this idea? While I hate to admit it, they have very good reasons why.
Maren: I agree with all the below reasons. Also, I have a very sensitive nose to smells, AKA a supersmeller, that should also be a reason.
Those who oppose say that pets can cause a great distraction for the office. It can allow the employee to be more worried, or make excuses to go see the dog rather than working.
Some jobs, such as restaurants just can’t. Animals are not allowed around food. So unless you want to get shut down by the health department, I suggest you stick with what you are doing.
The Health of Your Employees Matters
They say that as may as 15% to 30% of allergy sufferers are allergic to pets. With that said, pets should have proof of immunizations, be well behaved, trained and healthy. Warning employees before hiring them is vital so you aren’t responsible as an employer but know that it could limit you.
Limiting Candidate Pool
Kayleigh: So if you do end up putting this in effect know that it could limit your candidate pool. With as many allergy sufferers as there are, you are ultimately eliminating them the opportunity to work for your company. Unless you are letting them work from home then that’s a whole other topic.
Now that you know all the information, it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons of adding this to policy. What do you think? Do you think it’s worth company culture?
Maren: I think that depends on how you define culture! People are different. Workplaces that have an 80% population of pet owners still have a 2 in 10 people who don’t have (or even want) a pet. Same with kids at work. Many people have created their lives without kids (or moved past their years with young kids). I am sure it’s unpopular, but the truth is, bringing pets to work could do as much damage to your culture as not allowing them ever. The solution? Puppycams, of course.