The Benefits of Offering a Pet-Friendly Office Space
Working practices today have made several essential shifts that have changed how many people expect to do business. In many cases, this has led to immense benefits to the workforce as a whole. 53% of employees who can work remotely, for example, expect at least a hybrid work arrangement, and around 24% of workers prefer an entirely remote setup. As a result, many people are moving toward coworking spaces as a way to have the office they choose: a place that is open, inspirational, motivational, and social but that also offers all the tools you need to get your job done.
Some people think this type of work opportunity may decrease overall productivity. In reality, however, coworking environments may be more productive than traditional office spaces, with around 47% of workers noting an increase in productivity. One amenity that adds to this newfound environment is a pet-friendly coworking space. Working in a pet-friendly office can offer several key benefits to the work environment and the employee.
1. Having pets in the workplace can help decrease stress for pet owners.
According to a study performed in 2012, having pets in the workplace can substantially reduce overall employee stress. Employees who brought their pets to work reported significantly less stress at the end of the day than employees who could not have their pets with them, even in similar work environments with the same general responsibilities.
The benefits pets can have on overall stress levels have long been known. Having an animal at home can often lead to various health improvements, including lower blood pressure, decreases in the stress hormone cortisol, and lowering feelings of loneliness. Because loneliness can also cause significant health problems among humans, having an animal on hand—in isolated workspaces every bit as much as at home—can substantially impact overall well-being.
Just petting a dog can often lead to significant decreases in stress. Many colleges bring in emotional support puppies during heavy test times to help decrease stress levels for their students. Stressful workplaces also often work with animals to help alleviate stress and improve employee comfort after hard days at work.
When you allow employees to work in pet-friendly environments, on the other hand, they bring those pets into work with them, which means the organization itself doesn’t have to make arrangements for those sessions. The pets are right there for employees to enjoy!
2. Pet owners may feel more personally relaxed when they can have their pets at work.
Many pet owners worry about their pets when they have to leave them at home all day while at work. Pet owners are often eager to get out the door to walk their dogs, feed their animals, or ensure that their pets have the overall companionship they need to live happy healthy lives. Often, that may mean leaving work despite pending deadlines simply because those employees can no longer leave their pets to their own devices.
In a pet-friendly workspace, on the other hand, pets can come to work with their people. As a result, pet owners can continue working long hours with just a short break to ensure that their pets have everything they need. Pet owners with younger dogs who need more attention or older dogs who need more health support may also feel more comfortable with their animals, where they can check on them daily. As a result, they may experience an overall rise in productivity since they’ll be less likely to clock out as soon as quitting time rolls around.
Related: How to Choose a Coworking Space
3. Letting pet owners bring their pets to work can help improve the perception of the company.
In many cases, simply finding out they can bring their pets to work—even if they do not necessarily take advantage of it—can improve employees’ perceptions of the company. For many pet owners, pets become members of the family. Unfortunately, unlike many family members, those pets often are not welcomed in many spaces, including office spaces. By making your office a welcoming space for pets, you may note that your employees have a much more favorable opinion of the company. That, in turn, can make those employees more willing to go the extra mile for the company and improve overall employee satisfaction at work.
4. A pet-friendly workspace can improve coworker relationships.
According to a study by Nationwide Pet Insurance, allowing pets in the workplace can lead to a significant improvement in relationships between employees—and in the relationships between employees and their bosses. Having pets in the workplace creates a natural connection between employees with the same appreciation for their animals. Employees can connect and bond over their pets’ antics or over that daily stop-in for pets and cuddles. Furthermore, since having pets in the workplace can help reduce stress, it may help coworkers have a more positive association with one another, which can lead to better working relationships and a smoother working environment.
Related: What is a Coworking Office Space?
5. Having pets at work may help reduce employee turnover.
For many companies, high employee turnover is a serious problem that poses an ongoing financial drain and significant challenges. Employees may leave for a variety of reasons. Most often, however, employees leave because they seek better working conditions. The Great Resignation shows that employees are willing to go to their current positions to find jobs that better fit their needs. One top concern for many employees is work/life balance.
Employees have any number of responsibilities that they have to juggle and concerns they need to consider as part of their daily duties. Their pets are just one element of that critical balance. However, having a pet at work is a significant perk many employees may need help to forego. Employees may consider having a pet at work to offer enough incentive to help them through difficult times or to keep them juggling their current position even when they might otherwise be ready to move on to greener pastures.
6. Pet-friendly companies are more likely to attract new employees.
The Nationwide study also notes that companies allowing employees to bring their pets are more likely to be successful in attracting new employees. Having pets at work may appeal to even the top talent in their fields.
Over the past few years, when many employees shifted to working from home, many employees invested in pets. Now, they need to be responsible for those pets—and they appreciate offices that acknowledge their commitment to their animals by allowing them to come in with them. Furthermore, a pet-friendly workplace sounds like an attractive working environment for many millennials. By showing that you’re willing to allow employees to bring their pets with them, you indicate your commitment to genuinely caring for their employees and providing them with the best perks that you can.
7. Employees in pet-friendly workplaces may feel more connected to the company’s mission.
Your company’s mission is essential, as is your connection to your customers. When your employees buy into that mission and genuinely connect with your company’s values, you will likely see tremendous success overall in your work efforts. According to the Nationwide study, as many as 90% of employees in pet-friendly workplaces feel connected to their employer and the company mission. That makes them more likely to recommend their employer to other potential employees and people looking for the specific services or products the employer can offer. Those employees may also be more likely to go above and beyond for their employers since they will feel a greater connection to the things that the employee believes in.
8. Having pets at work may help reduce your healthcare costs.
Stress can lead to high costs for your workplace, and not just in terms of employee productivity. In many cases, stressed employees are more likely to be sick employees. They may catch more viruses, colds, and bacterial illnesses, spend more time out of work, and rely more heavily on employer-sponsored insurance to care for stress-related ailments. Since you can reduce overall stress levels by allowing animals in the workplace, you may notice a corresponding decrease in those healthcare costs.
Can You Offer a Pet-Friendly Workplace to Your Employees?
A pet-friendly workplace can have several benefits for both you and your employees. Not only does it decrease stress levels, but it may also lead to a higher overall opinion of the company as a whole and a greater overall connection to the values shared by your organization. Finding a suitable pet-friendly space for your employees and their pets can be a critical part of that.
Do you need a pet-friendly coworking space? Whether you occasionally need a space for your employees to come together with their furry friends or you’re looking for a long-term arrangement where employees in Austin can head to work in a pet-friendly environment, Vuka can help. Learn more about our extensive coworking spaces today.