Would you like to have a dog in your lap while you type away at your desk? It’s no secret that we are a nation that loves our pets, with a report showing that 51% of the UK population own any kind of domestic creature, from dogs to iguanas. With many of us having spent most of 2020 working from home, it will come as no surprise that employees are looking for more flexibility when it comes to returning to the office. This includes exploring new opportunities to bring their pets to work too.
In this blog, we’ll be looking at the benefits of a pet-friendly office and how you can design your workspace to make it possible for your employees to bring their pets to work.
Pet-friendly offices can help to increase communication among employees and break down barriers between staff members that wouldn’t usually speak to one another. Having an animal to talk about can open up a line of communication and break the ice, giving employees the chance to talk more openly and have more collaborative conversations.
By improving communication, your employees’ social skills and self-esteem will naturally develop which will, in turn, boost their confidence and their mental health. A pet in the office can encourage employees to get up and move around more, head outside for some fresh air and even go for a lunch-time walk.
Not only this but people are actually found to be happier and healthier when accompanied by their animals. Pet owners statistically have lower resting blood pressure and lower cholesterol. Having a pet can really help your heart and even stroking a dog or cat can lower cortisol levels – the hormone that causes stress. Improving employee wellbeing can also increase productivity so it’s a win-win for everyone.
Allowing pets in the workplace is a great perk and can give you an edge on other employers, helping to attract and retain employees. This option will give your workers flexibility and more of a work/life balance, allowing them to come to work without the worry of their pets suffering from separation anxiety. They’ll also be more likely to stay late if they need to because they’re not worried about their pet being left alone for too long.
If this sounds like the type of office you’d like, you’re probably wondering how you can tailor your workspace to suit your furry work companions too. Firstly, you might wish to use partitions, glass cubicles or perhaps gates to create designated pet-friendly areas to keep animals in their intended space and give employees the option to be away from the pets if they wish.
You might like to review your desks - larger desks will enable your employees to put crates or beds underneath their work area. Spacing your desks out will also give your pets space and help to keep them calm.
We also recommend natural colours and textures to avoid exciting the animals and deter them from chewing any furniture. It probably goes without saying that you should consider installing flooring that resists smells and stains or can be easily replaced such as concrete, textured rubber or carpet tiles. These flooring options can look really great when combining traditional factory features with contemporary design for a rustic meets modern feel.
Overall, you’ll need to set clear rules and boundaries and make sure that pets can’t access certain areas such as kitchens and meeting rooms. Having a pet-friendly office seems to be a huge benefit to both employee and animal.