pets in the office

Our workplaces have moved on from being dystopic scenes of men waiting in lines and doing the same movements hundreds of times in an hour. Our economies have evolved, and today, our work is much more knowledge-based than it ever was before. Likely, in the office you manage too, the employees aren’t just doing monotonous and repetitive tasks, but, rather, their jobs require imagination and creativity. How can you raise the productivity of your employees when they are doing this kind of work? How can you make your employees provide more value to the company? Getting pets is one of the simple answers to this question, and we’ll explore it further in this article. 

Really? Having Pets in the Office Will Increase Productivity? 

Hearing this might be surprising to many managers, especially those stuck in old management mindsets that focus way more on the stick part of the carrot and sticks incentivization method. When it comes to creative work, carrots work much better than sticks to raise the productivity of the employees. If you want to make your employees get more done during the workday, you should make them feel more relaxed, meet their needs, etc. That’s why companies like Google and Microsoft have various recreational events and even dedicated rooms for their employees. 

Studies have conclusively shown that pets have a calming effect on humans, induce less anxiety, and make people more emphatic and cooperative. These effects are seen across the board in all humans regardless of race, gender, or age. If you want to have a more productive workforce, investing in pets for your employees might be a good idea. 

What’s the Best Way of Managing the Pets?

Now that you’re sold on the idea of having pets in the office, you need to realize there are good ways and bad ways of doing so. Here are some things you need to keep in mind to successfully manage the pets in the office space: 

    • The pets are an investment: we’ve used this word before in the article, and it is worth reiterating – you need to think about the pets as an investment in your employees. Empirically measure the productivity increase that will likely result from having pets in the office, and make sure it pays for the money you spend on buying and maintaining the pets. There’s no sense in doing it if you keep losing money because of it. 
    • Not all pets are created equal for the workplace: although it is quite self-evident to say, it is important to remember that not all pets are equally suitable for the workplace. For example, most types of birds are absolutely a no go. Since the monumental amount of noise they are in the habit of making will result in a loss of focus and productivity among the workers, most likely. Dogs and cats are the most popular and perhaps quite suitable. They are not especially easy to take care of, but they’re quite nice to play with and cause relaxation. Fish are perhaps the best pet for the office. They look good, they are easy to take care of thanks to automatic feeders and high-quality fish tank heaters, and they are nice to see and interact with. Decide on which type of pet is more suitable for your needs. 
    • Make clear rules surrounding the pets: you need the pets to be well-taken care of and want to avoid any confusion. That’s why you need to make explicit and clear rules in the office. 

What are Potential Downsides I Need to be Aware of? 

It is not all sunshine and rainbows, however, and it is undeniable that pets in the office have some drawbacks, and you need to be clearly aware of them: 

  • The outcomes aren’t certain: while on average, the scientific literature is clear on the effects of pets. This will obviously vary depending on specific circumstances. There is no guarantee that getting pets for your office will increase productivity. You need to measure it to make sure. 
  • It might introduce some confusion and spontaneity into the workplace: while this isn’t bad prima facie, it might be undesirable in a lot of different types of offices. You might want your office to be rigid and professional. In this case, having a pet around isn’t a good idea. 
Image source: