5 Reasons Your Office Should Have a Pet

By Matt Longman | 07/29/2016

Allowing pets in the workplace has long been seen as a fun employee perk. But for some employers, an open door policy toward pets--particularly, man’s best friend--has business-enhancing benefits, including improved morale, reduced employee absenteeism, and fewer stress-related ailments like heart disease and diabetes.

In a 2012 study by the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), employees who were around dogs in the workplace reported feeling less stressed than employees who had dogs, but left them at home. The study also found that pets triggered positive workplace interactions that wouldn’t otherwise take place. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also cited similar stress-reducing benefits to allowing dogs in the workplace.
While not every company is suited for a workplace full of Weimaraners, the stress-reduction benefits are too attractive for some business owners to ignore. Some of the benefits of allowing pets in the workplace include:

1. Increased productivity

Having dogs around leads to a more productive work environment,  and provides an opportunity for coworkers to get to know each other through office pets.  According to a survey conducted by the American Pet Products Manufacturers, 70 million Americans believe having pets in the workplace reduces stress, and 46 million believe having pets in the workplace creates a more productive work environment. Research from the VCU study also found that as the workday wears on, average stress level scores fall about 11% among workers who bring their dogs to work—and increase 70% for those who do not.

2. Team-building

An office dog can be an incredibly powerful bonding tool. In a lot of offices, people like to keep themselves to themselves. An office pet can increase opportunities for bonding and teamwork among employees.. It also becomes a shared interest among employees, creating a new point of conversation.

3. Improved fitness

Exercise can help reduce stress, but some employers turn to pets to help amp up employee workouts. An office dog requires walking from time to time, and employees can benefit from the additional exercise. Sharing responsibility among the team or creating a dog walking rotation encourages employees to be active and get some fresh air. 

4. Stress relief 

At the crafty marketplace Etsy, pets are welcome for a variety of reasons--not least of all for their comedic timing. One time, a very small dog walked through an Etsy staff meeting dragging a stolen piece of pizza past the person who was speaking. The slice was same size as the dog, and the whole room erupted into laughter. 
This Brooklyn -based company has found that bringing dogs to work keeps employees’ spirits high and adds to the sense of community and connection. Employees say it's hard to be overwhelmed by work when a dog goes skittering by or comes over to say hello. And it’s not uncommon for folks to actively seek out their favorite pups when they need a break.

5. Setting the tone for the workplace

At the Huffington Post’s offices, a pro-pet policy has been in force since 2011. Besides traditional stress relieving benefits, the pro-pet policy also sets the tone for the office: comfortable, open and flexible. For younger and single workers, it also sends a message that their pet is as much a member of their family as human offspring.  The addition of a pet at the workplace also creates more of a relaxed attitude for both employees and customers – whether they stand on two legs or four.