By Bond Collective Staff
Office pets make a great addition to any work environment. They’re cute. They’re cuddly (at least some are). And they make people happy.
But what pet is right for your office? In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of office pets and give you some tips for creating a pet-friendly work environment.
Cats And Dogs As Office Pets
Cats make a great addition to any office environment. They’re low-maintenance pets that don’t require a lot of attention or space to thrive in an office setting.
You will have to provide a litter box and food and water, but you won’t have to take your cat for a walk to do its business every few hours. That can be especially helpful if your team is busy on an important project.
They may venture into places they shouldn’t (e.g., behind monitors and other computer equipment) and their dander may irritate allergies, but cats make wonderful office pets that all can enjoy.
Of the two alternatives — cats or dogs — cats are probably the most popular choice for a work mascot.
Dogs require a bit more care than cats, but they are still an excellent choice as an office pet.
Depending on the breed of dog you choose, they can grow quite large and may cause unintentional damage to equipment, furniture, and decor. A bit of training can prevent that issue.
An office dog will require frequent walks, so you’ll have to share the responsibility amongst your team members.
Pros Of Having Office Pets
Morale is a difficult variable to maintain in a fast-paced office environment. It can be high in the morning and low in the afternoon.
An office pet can reduce those highs and lows and move office morale to a more consistent level.
There are few icebreakers better than a cuddly cat or adorable dog. The presence of animals in the office gives team members a reason to stop and chat with fellow coworkers about something other than work.
That one variable can improve not just interpersonal relationships but also long-term communication amongst your team.
Stress can affect the way your team members work in a negative way and seriously detract from their motivation. Office pets reduce stress levels and help keep employees happy even during intense bouts of activity.
Productivity is another difficult variable to maintain at the office. But with the presence of a pet, the combination of reduced stress and higher morale tends to increase productivity.
In many ways, an office pet has a significant effect on how your team members perceive each other at work.
This beneficial effect results in improved trust, cohesion, and camaraderie. All of that leads to better collaboration in the office.
A friendly office pet that interacts well with people is a wonderful way to draw customers and clients into your business. Many managers and business owners testify that customers choose to patronize their establishment because they can visit the cat or dog while shopping.
Some customers even remember the animal’s name more often than the employees they interact with.
All types of businesses — from tech startups to jewelry stores to auto mechanics — can benefit from the happiness that an office pet can bring.
Improved Public Relations
Having an office pet can benefit not just your employees and customers but your public relations efforts as well.
Transform your office cat or dog into the unofficial mascot of your business and use his or her likeness in your fund-raising efforts, on your social media accounts, and in other customer-facing locations.
Clients, customers, and the public at large will remember that your business cares enough to offer a pet a home, and your public relations will improve because of it.
Cons Of Having Office Pets
Pets are notoriously messy. From smells to hair to bladder issues, these factors can disrupt the way your team works and cause issues if you don’t take steps to keep your office clean and fresh.
Pet dander can lead to all sorts of annoying allergies, such as itchy eyes, runny nose, sneezing, and difficulty breathing. Those issues can interfere with the way your team works.
If you’re convinced that an office pet is right for your office but some members suffer from animal-related allergies, you may need to provide other accommodations for these individuals.
Some people just don’t like animals. And if you introduce a cat, dog, or hamster into their workspace, their productivity could suffer.
Make sure you ask all your employees how they feel about office pets before deciding to introduce an animal into the work environment.
Office pets improve the work/life balance in your business, but those animals can also disrupt the flow your team members rely on to get things done.
Untrained pets can be noisy and intrusive to team members who are trying to focus on an important task. Even just a few seconds of distraction can cause your employees to disengage and lose concentration.
If you decide to have an office pet, be sure it’s properly trained and provide a dedicated space for it away from your team’s work area.
Even though you may train your office mascot to be well-behaved, they’re still animals at heart.
Loud noises may startle them, or they may get defensive if they don’t like a visitor. In those cases, their teeth and claws can cause unintentional but serious injuries.
To prevent incidents, keep your office pet in its own designated area when you’re expecting visitors.
Office pets come with many expenses. You’ll need a water bowl, food bowl, pet food, treats, toys, and cushions. Not to mention cleaning supplies and vet fees. These expenditures can quickly add up.
In fact, a typical cat can cost your business $600 annually, while a large dog can cost your business close to $1600 every year.
It’s a fact: office pets do smell. No cat or dog owner is able to say with 100 percent certainty that you can’t smell their pet when you walk in the front door.
That may be a problem for business owners who don’t want the odor of an office pet to detract from the experience of their customers or clients.
When considering bringing an office pet into your business, it’s vital to understand that no matter how much you bathe your furry friend, they may still exude a telltale aroma.
It may not be a problem for your employees, who will quickly get used to it, but consider a customer who walks into your establishment for the first time. What will they smell? Do you want to risk a bad first impression?
Tips For A Pet-Friendly Work Environment
1) Check Your Lease Or Workplace Agreement
Unless you own the building, you’ll want to make sure your landlord allows pets on the premises so you don’t violate your contract and run into legal issues.
2) Secure Comprehensive Liability Insurance Coverage
Even the friendliest, most well-behaved animal can cause problems (or damage) sometimes. Protect your business from expensive liability with a comprehensive insurance policy.
3) Create A Care Plan
If you have a full-time office mascot, create a care plan so everyone knows who is responsible for feeding, walking, and taking the little tyke to the vet.
If you allow your team members to bring their pets to work, establish a list of rules so your workplace doesn’t get out of control and devolve into an episode of Wild Kingdom.
4) Consider Adoption
Adopted animals make great office pets. And there are millions of animals who need a place to call home. Rather than buying new, visit your local pound, ASPCA office, or other animal charity and adopt one or two office pets.
Bond Collective Welcomes Pets
Bond Collective recognizes how much a furry friend can improve a work environment. They offer pet-friendly locations and common areas where your cats and dogs can enjoy the workday just like you.
This is in addition to the many other industry-leading amenities that Bond Collective offers, including:
Access to small and large conference rooms
Daily on-site cleaning
Rooftop lounge area
Photo & sound studio (at Gowanus location)
Complimentary fresh fruit
Complimentary beer, coffee, and tea
Private meeting & phone booths
Guest reception and greeting
If you’re looking for a spacious, pet-friendly, and well-appointed collaborative workspace to boost your productivity, take advantage of any one of Bond Collective’s many locations in the United States, including New York, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., Illinois, Tennessee, and Texas.
Call us today to find out more about everything we have to offer. And while you’re at it, schedule a tour to experience first-hand how the boutique work environments at Bond Collective can benefit your business.