Not only are pets great companions, but they can also have a significant positive effect on your health and wellness. Studies have found pet ownership tends to reduce anxiety and stress, promote social interaction, and even lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Given the impact that pet ownership has on well-being, it’s not surprising that pet-friendly workplace policies, which make pet ownership easier and less expensive, result in a variety of positive organizational outcomes. Studies have found that pet-friendly benefits (PFBs) result in improved recruitment, retention, engagement, and presenteeism. PFBs have also been linked to health and wellness benefits above and beyond those that are provided through pet ownership on its own. Employees who work at companies with pet-friendly policies are typically happier, more focused, and more inclined to stay with their company for longer periods of time.
Eight Tips For Creating A Pet-Friendly Workplace
Try out these eight pet-friendly tips, policies, and benefits to maximize the wellness-boosting and organization-optimizing effects of pet-friendly workplaces.
1. Bring your pet to work days: As recently reported, pet owners are concerned about returning to the workplace following the pandemic, during which they have been around their animal-companions nearly 24/7. To make the transition back into the office easier on pet-owners, consider providing them with weekly opportunity to bring their pets to work.
2. Designated Pet Pens: While many employees may be eager to bring their pets to work or interact with their co-workers’ pets, others may not be so fond of their office-mates furry comrades. To accommodate everyone's pet preferences, pet-friendly policies can be tailored to include designated areas where staff may bring their pets during work hours.
3. Pet breaks: Employers who are reluctant to allow workers to bring pets into the office should consider providing their employees with additional break time so that they can go visit their pets during the day. Even just a few extra minutes with one’s animal companion can make all the difference.
4. Pet-care and services: Pet-owners often must make tough decisions between caring for their furry loved ones and fulfilling work responsibilities. Pet care services (e.g., on-site walking services, pet daycare, grooming services, etc.) can provide individuals with the help they need so that they don't have to choose one over the other.
5. Pet of the month award: To provide some comic relief, boost office morale, and encourage pet owners to carefully monitor their pet’s behavior, hand out a pet of the month award.
6. Adoption events: By partnering with a local adoption agency and hosting adoption events, employers can help pets in need find a home and bring the wellness benefits of pet ownership to employees who have yet to experience it.
7. Pet insurance: Pet ownership can bring with it unexpected medical expenses. Pet insurance can help defray these costs, thereby providing pet-owners with the peace of mind that comes with knowing that they won't have to pay substantial medical bills to keep their pets happy and healthy.
8. Pet bereavement: For many, the loss of a pet can be just as devastating as the loss of a friend or family member. By extending bereavement leave to those mourning the death of a pet, organizations can help employees recover from these emotionally trying experiences.