The pandemic just strengthened our relationships with pets. But how’s it going to be once office life is back? We’re taking a look at how pets & offices can be a perfect match.
For pets, Covid-19 might have been the greatest thing ever. Humans at home all the time, more time to have fun with them and probably more walks around the block. Some even got to be part of a family for the first time, as many remote workers decided to adopt a new four-legged friend during the past year.
In fact, we’ve been walking the streets of Lisbon and noticing more people than ever walking their dogs. This had us wondering how will it be for pets and their owners once office life is back? Employees’ relationships with pets have certainly strengthened during the pandemic, and it will have an impact on returning to physical work environments. While there were several pet-friendly companies before the pandemic (including us at e.near, yes!), the number is expected to grow as people return to offices.
In celebration of the American National Pet Week, we’re trying to understand how pets are important in people’s lives and how companies like e.near can benefit from pet-friendly policies. It is part of the work we’ve been doing on updating our pet-friendly policy. We definitely want to be ready to deal with our employees’ needs once office life back.
Pets have always been near us
Almost since e.near was found that pets have been, once in a while, visiting the office. The well-ventilated open spaces and lots of windows are perfect for pets’ well-being. They don’t feel “trapped” inside a tiny place. We also have areas where owners can put feeding/water bowls and blankets so their pets feel comfortable. But the best part is our location. By the river and with lots of green areas around, it is a beautiful area for pet walking.
Our overall experience with pets in our offices is pretty great. Despite a few employees that weren’t so comfortable around pets, most people truly enjoyed their presence. It was great because the routine was different. For instance, people would go out for walks more often. The sole presence of dogs could lift people’s spirits!
In fact, our CEO Inês Malheiro loves animals – she has a few horses and a dog named Nico that we all love! She is aware of how hard it will be for pets and owners once we can return to the office, so she wants e.near’s staff to know that as long as a few rules are followed, pets are allowed in the office.
Pets & Offices – a perfect marriage!
That’s right. Pets seem to be advantageous in most workplaces. Evidence shows how allowing dogs in the workplace is beneficial. It develops a happier and more engaged workforce, reducing stress in the workplace.
And the benefits seem to be clear for both employees and HR teams of pet-friendly companies. Pets positively impact the office environment. They act as icebreakers and help people socialise more – communication between colleagues improves. People tend to feel happier around pets. Besides that, as they have their own needs, they force a few productive breaks. They can even help their owners to keep a better work-life balance.
Let’s get a deeper look at the actual benefits of allowing pets in the office once humans are authorised as well.
✔ Pets will help people return to the office
For many employees, it is terrific to know pets will be allowed once work returns to the office. As expected, recent research found that pet owners are concerned about returning to the office because of their pets. They worry that pets will have a hard time (re)adapting to being alone for long hours.
Like e.near, other companies should be aware of it. And instead of “going backwards” with pet-friendly policies, they should probably think about strengthening them. Everyone is aware that the workplace has to be as hygienic as possible. But for us, this is being debated and new measures are to be applied once we know when and how we’ll be able to go back.
✔ Improved company loyalty
According to a study lead in 2016, employees of pet-friendly companies believe their well-being improves by allowing pets in the office. They also said it improves their morale. But the most surprising thing is that employees mentioned that pet-friendly policies improve their loyalty to the company. And their HR teams agree with all this!
By looking at this data and combining it with those studies showing how different generations care about pet-friendly workplaces… We start seeing the big picture. Allowing pets in the office attracts all sorts of talent, and especially younger talent as Millenials. And even better than that, these policies help people stay in the company.
✔ Pets help reduce stress levels
Most times, working is stressful. Even if what you’re doing is not that stressful, the office environment usually is. Employees have to deal with deadlines, changing needs, bugs and many other things that might go wrong. But there’s something that lowers stress hormones. You guessed right: pets.
Having a pet around works as a stress reducer – and it is true for both the home and the office life. In fact, the same preliminary study shows that not only the dog owners experience lower stress levels. A dog in the office acts as a stress reliever for the whole workforce. In a 2016 study by Banfield Pet Hospital 82% of employees working in pet-friendly companies agreed that allowing pets in the workplace reduced their stress.
✔ More Productive breaks
Working for too long with no breaks might be counterproductive. May those who never felt like working for hours and hours unable to concentrate on an important task raise their hands. Did you? Probably you didn’t. We’ve all been there, unable to get on with work.
But having a pet around usually forces you to have some productive breaks, which is actually a great thing – for both employees and employers. By focusing on a completely different task for a while, you might be ‘resetting’ your focus. Once you get back to work tasks, the focus will be back.
When bringing dogs to the office, owners should always walk them. That means productive breaks are mandatory. But owners know pets themselves will make sure it happens, right?
Photographies of the e.near Family pets!
The perks of having a pet
For those who never experienced a connection with a furry friend, it might be hard to understand why others treat them like family. However, the truth is, nowadays, most pet owners see themselves as true pet parents.
Pets are perceived as a source of joy and unconditional love. Most people have them because of that. That’s what most people care about. But the truth is, as we mentioned, science has something to say regarding how these relationships impact humans. According to recent studies, pets can reduce stress, motivate people to exercise, help to reduce depression and anxiety, and even improve cardiovascular health.
In fact, this study claims a correlation between having pets (any kind of them) as kids and professional success. The same research found that 93% of surveyed C-Suite executives grew up with a pet and that 90% of the respondents felt that children having pets has a positive impact on their success at school.Are you already thinking about taking your beloved furry friend into the office?
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