Have you ever let your pet accompany you into your office? If so, then you’ll know just what a morale boost your little furry companion can bring to you. Whether you’ve got a loyal dog or a regal cat (or any other kind of pet), the mental health benefits of an animal friend are wide-ranging and well-documented, and so it stands to reason that you might want your pet to come with you when you head into work.
Opinions on this matter, however, are split. Some think that you should be able to bring pets into the office as much as you want, while others believe that pets have no place in a professional environment. Here are some of the arguments for and against bringing pets into the office.
Pets have a positive effect on mental health
As we’ve said, pets have a strongly positive effect on your mental health, so this is one argument in favour of bringing them into the office. If you have a pet with you, then your efficiency could jump simply by virtue of having a friend that comforts you and brings you joy in close proximity; you’ll work harder because you know that at any moment, you can simply give your pet a cuddle or a treat and take comfort in their happiness.
Other people might not like your pets
Although you love your pet dearly, that’s not necessarily going to be the case for everyone in the office. You may not understand how everyone isn’t a cat person, but if your colleague isn’t particularly enamoured with cats and you bring one with you to work, that may negatively affect their mood (and also their productivity). Pets should only be allowed in the office if everyone in the working environment is amenable to their presence.
Walking your pet could convince you to take exercise breaks
It’s well-known that those with sedentary working lives – i.e. those who work at desks in offices – would benefit greatly from taking regular exercise breaks. Having a pet with you, especially if it’s a dog, could be a good motivator for taking those breaks. If you’ve got to walk your dog around the block twice during the working day, then you’ll have to get some exercise into the bargain, so a pet in the office could be a good way to improve your physical health.
Your boss might not like you being distracted
Pets can prove a distraction, and if you manage to get less work done because you’re too busy petting your little animal companion and fussing over them, then that’s not going to reflect well on you when performance review time comes. You may suffer further if your pet is also distracting other people in your office, because after all, it’s not just yourself you need to think about when it comes to introducing a new animal friend into the workplace.
The team could bond over a pet
If your team does love your pet as much as you do, though, then a pet can be a strong bonding factor, especially for a new team. If you’ve just joined your workforce, or if your team is flagging due to poor performance or factors outside your control, then bringing your pet to work could be just the mood boost everyone needs to refocus on the job and improve their efficiency. What’s more, a collective team mental health benefit can only be a good thing.
Some team members could be allergic
One of the reasons you shouldn’t be allowed to bring pets into the office is a simple one: some of your coworkers could be allergic to pets. In addition, if a coworker brings a pet into the office and you’re allergic to that species, it’s not going to be much fun while the animal is around, no matter how much you want to love them. Allergies should always be considered before introducing a pet into an office environment, and if anyone does have an allergy, don’t bring your pet.
Pets could keep a workplace safe
Let’s say you’ve got a particularly tough dog. They may be an absolute softie around you, but around strangers or untrustworthy folks, your dog can be pretty defensive of you. That’s an ideal quality for a pet that you bring into an office, especially if you need some additional security in that office. If you’re able to control your pet and have them serve as an effective additional layer of security to deter unwanted visitors, then that’s an undeniable plus.
You’re liable for your pet’s behaviour
Of course, you know that your pet would never hurt another human being, but if, for some reason, they do – say, for instance, your dog is scared of their new environment and lashes out at a coworker – then that behaviour could end up coming back to bite you, no pun intended. You could be expected to foot the bill for medical assistance, for instance, and you could also fall foul of your office’s insurance policy depending on the nature of any incident involving your pet.
Naturally, we can’t definitively state whether or not it’s a good idea to have pets in the workplace. We’re in favour of pets being introduced to an office if everyone on the team is happy for them to be there and if they don’t severely impact performance or mental health, but of course, each office is different, and you must make the decision based on your own workplace’s circumstances.