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Otis the office dog of interior fit out company Rap Interiors Otis the office dog of interior fit out company Rap Interiors

Pets: The Solution To Stress In The Workplace

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Rap Interiors

Nearly 80% of adults in employment commonly experience workplace stress, the most common in the UK, causing around 12% of sickness absence days.

Would you like to reduce these figures in your workplace with one simple policy?

Pets in the Workplace

Nearly half of people say pets in the workplace it creates a more relaxed atmosphere in the workplace and 40% with pets at work say it enhances their work-life balance. It encourages a more creative environment providing inspiration, higher engagement levels and better well-being.

Research also showed higher performance and increased productivity, all because of the presence of a pet in the workplace. A simple solution that can easily be incorporated within your workplace design, with plenty of benefits…

Stress Relief

Pets are incredibly therapeutic in the workplace, as they not only have the ability to decrease stress levels but also increase productivity. A study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management found workers who had access to dogs were more likely to be less stressed as the day went on. These employees as a whole had a higher job satisfaction than industry norms.

Stress hormone levels were measured throughout the course of the working day and it showed that employees with their dog present had declining stress levels in comparison to non-pet owners.

Spending too much time on project or problem can inhibit productivity and cause unnecessary stress. Pets can provide good interruptions to remind people to pause and take a step back from their work. Short walks and play-time can be invited temporary distractions to allow mental breaks so employees are not overworked and become stressed.

Director Rick and Office Dog Otis Stress Free at the beach

Projects Assistant Ben with Dog

Fitness

With pets, it’s easier to include a regime of daily exercise, whether it be a 20-minute stroll or higher levels of activity such as Frisbee throwing.

The animal’s essential need for exercise encourages employees to take their dogs for walks during their breaks, which could even be shared between employees.

This allows employees to get their recommended daily exercise, promoting a regular break to get up and out from their desk and workspace.

Colleague Interaction

Work-related politics is the most common cause of workplace stress. Pets can help in developing relationships with employees within any work-related politics, increase communication and reduce tension between staff.

It’s easier to interact with animals than it is colleagues so a simple interaction with the pet can lead to a conversation with a colleague, making collaborations with introverts or high-tension projects not nearly as challenging.

Office dog Otis having lunch in the workplace

JJ Systems dog in workplace

Animal Therapy

It’s more common for those who own pets to manage their stress more efficiently in situations, as well as handling depression. Incorporating a process, such as Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT) into the office to help those

There is a process known as Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT), where pets are used to improve emotional, social and cognitive functions. There is even some evidence that AAT can act as a therapy for assisting people with autism because interacting with a pet can influence positive social interaction, although there isn’t enough evidence for it to be a concrete solution.

Tips for Pets in the Workplace

Pets in the workplace can have beneficial effects but proper steps must be taken by employers to ensure a happy, healthy environment for all – pets and employees.

Naturally, there will be some reservations regarding having pets in the workplace. While the benefits are outstanding, there are some obstacles that every employer should take into consideration before implementing the policy.

Injuries to Employees

Employees may have protective pets who are initially aggressive to those that come near their owner, so it’s best to be cautious when initially introducing pets to the office.

In the case that a pet injures a fellow colleague, the business can be held liable rather than the owner of the pet (unless a contract of some sort is signed which denies company liability.)

Injuries To Pets

Another point to make is that it isn’t just employees that could be injured but also the pets. There are often cables scattered around the workplace so electrical hazards could be an issue.

If the office space is cramped, there is the risk of them running into obstacles such as desking or their paws could be injured by the wheels of office seats.

It’s best to address these risks early on before you allow pets in the workplace and analyse how these risks can be reduced without affecting the productivity of the workforce.

Allergies

It’s important to be aware of your employee’s allergies before allowing pets into the workplace. An abundance of sneezing can cause germs if anyone is allergic to fur which can create an unhealthy workplace. It could also hinder productivity to those allergic while they are puffy-eyed and feeling ill as well as cause a distraction to others.

Acclimatise

New pets must be introduced slowly. They are still animals and need to be bought into a new environment and get used to daily activities.

New environments can cause stress on the pet and even cause unusual or destructive behaviour which could lead to them injuring themselves or someone else.

The Right Pet

Although it is great having a pet in the workplace, sometimes there are some obscure pet choices that are most likely not recommended for the office. For example, having a spider or snake as a pet could be scary for a lot of people in the office that might have phobia’s and therefore be fearful of coming to work.

It’s also best to ensure that your employees do not have fears of any other pets, as the last thing you want to do as an employer is put them in an uneasy position.

Checking With Your Landlord

Another issue that can arise from allowing pets in the workspace is not having clearance with the landlord beforehand. Even if the policy for employees allows for pets in the workplace, the landlord’s lease may not be.

Before allowing pets into the office it’s best to reread the lease or speak with the landlord. The majority of tenancy agreements are unlikely to allow pets in the workplace but it is worth checking just in case.

Hygiene

Not only should employees be healthy at work to avoid spreading sickness, but the same should go for the pets too. Pets should be groomed, cleaned, as well as free of contagions so their owners must ensure vaccinations are up to date and they have regular check-ups.

Rap Interiors office dog Otis

Meet the Mascot of Rap

Here at Rap Interiors, we practice what we preach. We have our very own furry friend called Otis, who is a big part of the Rap team. Otis helps us to relieve our stress when we need it most, the office just wouldn’t be the same without him.

If you bring your pet to work and would like to show us, tweet us a picture to @Rap_Interiors with the hashtag #petsatwork.

The Rap Interiors office dog Otis The Rap Interiors office dog Otis

Do you want to make your workplace a pet-friendly environment?

Our team will be happy to help you design and transform your workspace to accommodate your own team mascots so they feel comfortable and welcome at work.

Give us a call on 0333 600 1234 or fill out the form below and one of the team will call you back shortly to discuss how this can be done.