Thanks to the Internet, there is now a tremendous amount of people who have lost literally days of their lives to watching video clips of cats and dogs. And who can blame them? There is nothing like a good laugh that makes you all giddy and mushy inside when watching those furry rascals do all sorts of shenanigans, cute or otherwise. But, of course, YouTube isn’t the only place where you can get front row seats for the animal ball. What happens, for example, when a company starts nurturing a pet-friendly culture?
That’s right, hilarity ensues.
While we can’t say this is the main reason we at CI welcome pets into our working environment, it’s definitely a contributing factor. In fact, we love how they can effortlessly shift the atmosphere from ‘serious-mode’ to ‘cuteness overload’ in mere seconds. There is something incredibly irresistible with the way animals light up those brain centers that make you want to shower them with cuddles, which, as it turns out, is actually quite beneficial for cutting down those cortisol levels.
But in this day and age, there is so much more to bringing pets to work than meets the eye.
Why is nurturing a pet-friendly culture becoming advantageous for modern companies?
Millennials, being the upcoming major workforce, are also the largest demographic of pet owners – and maybe there’s a reason for that: 44% of Millennials are not sure whether they want to have children. Until they do decide, it turns out furry companions are the next best thing.
Allowing pets in the office is not necessarily a matter of increasing productivity as it is a matter of bringing people together. After all – as all pet parents know – they are the greatest conversation ice-breakers known to man.
In fact, when I had a chat with Sasha, our Visual Designer and most frequent bring-your-own-pet-to-work practitioner, she declared: “Look, people like dogs. That’s just the way it is. When I bring my dog (Punk) to the office, she gets super excited to see everyone, which automatically makes everyone happy. Sure, her excitement may go overboard at times, enough for her bladder to give in, but still, you have to be pretty heartless not to find a wiener dog hilarious.”
And she has a point. So far, every time we’ve had an ostentatious furry visitor in our ranks, the atmosphere in the office shifted into a whole new dimension, which made the tasks at hand a lot less strenuous than they appeared to be. But not everything is peachy keen with pets at the workplace: the company needs to ensure that such visits stay within the realm of reason.
The Office Doggy’s responsibilities
Here’s a hard truth: not everyone is a fan of animals. Some people may fear them, some are allergic, while some just don’t like to be bothered by them while working. What’s more, pets can even wreak havoc among themselves if they are not socialized and trained properly, something that’s likely to reflect poorly on the mood of the office.
“Even if every single employee was to have a dog, bringing them all at once to the office would spell disaster”, Sasha further clarified. “Animals can be fearful, territorial, or domineering with just one wrong bark away from turning everything into a circus. That is why I say one dog at a time is plenty. It is vital that people make schedules if they are to avoid working at a zoo.”
We are not that keen on setting strict boundaries with these issues, but we find that a few ground rules are indeed needed to protect both the animals and employees. Most importantly, everyone needs to be on board with allowing the little beasts to mingle through the office (allergic folks in particular) and the ‘three strikes and you’re out’ policy makes sure every pet owner is treated fairly. Now, we don’t necessarily mean banning for life, but if someone’s pet keeps acting out or cannot be controlled, additional behavioral training will be mandatory.
Other than that, every dog has its day. Today Punk was the canine queen. Tomorrow, another amusing rascal will be the mascot of choice. And my golden ‘receiver’ (because he sure ain’t retrieving things) will be lounging around the day after that.
Just don’t let the tail wag the dog
The percentage of our performance has increased with the introduction of pets isn’t something that you will likely hear us say. In fact, it’s entirely likely they decrease productivity rather than improve it, but that’s just because they are an adorable distraction that occasionally produces involuntary noises. And sometimes, a little distraction is all that’s needed to help us recalibrate and refocus.
Cats, dogs, and other house animals are an increasingly important part of life for many people around the globe. If employers seek to provide a positive work-life balance, embracing pet parents and creating an environment that supports them will do wonders for their loyalty and sense of acceptance. Not to mention saving thousands of carpets, end tables and newspapers from being chewed up from separation anxiety (and to be clear, that’s the dog, not the pet-parent).
“Once you have had a wonderful dog, a life without one, is a life diminished.” Dean Koontz
So we say: pets are allowed. Woof!