Take Your Pets to Work to Improve Employee Wellbeing

Returning to the office soon and want to make the whole process easier? How about considering pets in the office -

we can guarantee you’ll love the idea or aren’t a fan. An office pet isn’t just a cool trend even if Google dog owners are called Dooglers. It’s been proven that the benefits of owning a pet increase your mental wellbeing so bring your pet into work and it’s icing on the cake right?

Naysayers may complain about fur, smells, accidents and begging however there are options to accommodate their preferences by allocating designated animal areas or restricting visits. Here are some facts to change their minds about seeing beautiful doggie smiles around work:

1. Pets reduce stress in the workplace and are happier around people.
2. Break the ice or ease conflict over a mutual love for the office pet.
3. General morale will improve and employees are likely to remain.
4. Higher attendance rates because owners don’t need time off to care for young/sick/elderly animals.
5. Little bladders will enforce breaks on engrossed workers.
6. If you offer a job to the perfect candidate deliberating on offers what will win them over? A pet friendly office obviously (otherwise they’re not a good ‘culture fit’).
7. Pet owners save billions in healthcare: “Thinking about things that people should do to maintain their health, ‘get a pet’ belongs on that list… health insurers are considering wellness incentives to keep costs down and pet ownership provides another way to stay healthy.” HABRI Executive Director, Steven Feldman.

Partners & Co firmly believe that your people are your biggest asset therefore supporting your employees’ wellbeing is essential for your business’s success. Partner Lindsey Rayner was apprehensive about having animals in the workplace before realising the positive impact it would have on her team:

“A childhood incident with a dog was the main catalyst for my phobia and I wasn’t even bitten! My team asked if they could bring their dogs into work and I initially thought “What will our clients think?” I was also concerned about my phobia emerging, barking or accidents. But after checking with everyone first they enjoyed having pets at work, including me surprisingly! It was evident in their behaviour that they were happier when pets were there and there is something therapeutic about having a doggie cuddle. I would consider leave for new dog owners to take time off or let them work from home to settle in their pet.

I’m proud to have our own Cavadoodle Charlie and what a joy he is! I now understand dogs; my phobia has reduced and we consider Charlie as another family member. We might even check with all Mental Health and Wellbeing course attendees to see if they’re happy to have Charlie attend some sessions too.

Anyone who is uncertain about welcoming dogs to your workplace should agree on certain ground rules and then just give it a go. You won’t regret it, doggy promise.”

Ensure the animals are well trained; pet proof the office; consider safety issues; and check for any allergies. But if you can’t allow a pet on site then Forbes have suggested alternatives:
• Host a picnic/happy hour at a dog park.
• Sponsor a pet photo contest with pet-related prizes.
• Volunteer at an animal charity.
• Provide a discount for pet insurance.
• Offer "pawternity" to new pets owners and animal bereavement leave.

This is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate that you value your employees’ mental wellbeing. We bet you’re not immune to those fur baby’s smiles either!

www.partnersandco.co.nz

Partners & Co was created from the idea of wanting to make a positive change to socially responsible organisations and their employees. It is a purpose driven business that is dedicated to providing a range of Mental Health First Aid training to organisations throughout New Zealand.

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