Benefits of Pets in the Workplace
Hello, I’m George the dog, I’m two years old and I work at Tri-State Office Furniture in Pittsburgh PA. I come to work every day with my mom, Dianna. I love coming to work because I get to see all my friends and then I play with my Kong until I can get all the delicious treats to come out. Work is so much fun! 😊 I try my best to be good, but I get so excited being surrounded by all my friends and visitors, that sometimes it’s hard for me not to talk to them. I don’t mean to be distracting, I just love to play! When the time comes, I go into the kitchen during lunch and hangout with the Tri State Office Furniture employees. I like it in there because the floor is chilly and a big furry boy like me gets hot and really enjoys the change in atmosphere. Also, the employees will sneak me treats if they have any left overs… shh don’t tell my mom though. I love coming to work with my mom it’s so much better than sitting home alone with no one to talk to.
This isn’t all I do though, my mom tells me I’m a big help at work because I help raise the morale of the workers and help lower stress1! She also says that I can help relax customers when I greet them at the door! She says this has something to do with a change of perception given to an individual when they experience animals in their environment2. For example, people have been recorded as having reduced blood pressure when looking at dogs or chimpanzees2; This increases the likelihood of an employee, or a customer having a better experience. This makes sense since pets, dogs specifically, have a history of positively reinforcing good habits in their owners and those who are near them. This is because dogs, like me, have the ability to teach love and kindness by showing unconditional acceptance1
A study set out by Meredith Wells and Rosie Perrine of Eastern Kentucky University set out to explore if pets in the workplace truly have these effects on employees. The research was conducted by sending out 443 surveys to companies in which the employees rated their feeling of pets in the workplace from one to six and then proceeded to answer a series to open ended questions on the subject. By the end of the study, it was found from the surveys that the employees did in fact perceive the pets as relieving stress by providing a pleasant diversion from work and creating a more comfortable work environment1. The participants did worry though that the pets could become a nuisance or distraction because of barking and other biological effects on employees such as allergies1. The research paper ended by emphasizing how the results of the study showed that many employees perceive pets in the workplace to reduce stress and benefit the organization.
Where it’s essential to consider the happiness of your employees, it is also necessary to look at things from your customers point of view and get any understanding of what they want and expect from you. Depending on the industry you’re in, the atmosphere of your office can determine if you get more or less business. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance that you try make every person who enters your door feel comfortable and welcome. In some instances, this could mean having art around the office, or having a refreshment bar at the entrance. In terms of animals though something as simple as a fish tank could make a difference in relaxing customers2. Animals can also stimulate the environment to act as an ice breaker and help facilitate interactions between individuals. As the token office pet, I can guarantee that an animal will help encourage interactions and at the least help heighten mood!
Another study by Meredith Perrine and Meredith wells set out to find how pets affected a person’s perception. The study recruited 482 undergraduate students to answer questions about their perception of a work environment. During the study participants were shown different images of an office space with and without a pet and were asked to answer six questions from the customers perception and six from the employee’s perception, along with some open-ended questions. The results from the study showed that when participants imagined themselves being a customer in an environment with dogs and cats they would have a better mood2.It was also shown in the data that the office with animals was perceived as encouraging more social interaction. As you might have guessed animals in the workplace did in fact cause a change in perception. It seems that having a furry friend like me in the office sure can pay off! Pets have and always will be your best friend when you need them they are there for you unconditionally and it may be work to take care of them but it ultimately pays off in the long run if approached properly.
By. Dylan Edmonds
- Wells, Meredith, and Rose Perrine. “Critters in the Cube Farm: Perceived Psychological and Organizational Effects of Pets in the Workplace.” Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, vol. 6, no. 1, 2001, pp. 81–87., doi:10.1037//1076-89184.108.40.206.
- Perrine, Rose M, and Meredith Wells. “Labradors to Persians: Perceptions of Pets in the Workplace.” Taylor and Francis Online, Routledge, 28 Apr. 2015, www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.2752/089279306785593928?needAccess=true.