More and more companies are implementing pet-friendly policies, even big corporations like Google and Amazon. With loosening restrictions and National Take Your Pet to Work Day rapidly approaching, you may be wondering if you should bring your cat to work. There are plenty of arguments for and against this practice. Let's explore the pros and cons of bringing your cat to work from both the employee and employer perspective.
There are several benefits to having pets in the office, from reducing stress to retaining employees. Let's explore:
- Boosts morale and decreases stress. It's no surprise that having pets in the workplace boosts employee morale. According to one study, pets offer more stress relief than the company of a spouse or good friend, providing their pet parents with something researchers call "social support".
- Increases productivity. Contrary to popular belief, allowing pets in the workplace actually boosts employee productivity. It's thought that caring for a pet in your downtime helps prevent fatigue and burnout.
- Enhances customer perception. Allowing pets on the job may also can enhance the customer experience, especially if customers get a chance to interact with the animal. After all, who doesn't like meeting a new furry friend?
- Promotes social interaction. Cats are a great conversation starter, so it's unsurprising that experts say having pets in the workplace promotes social interaction. Even people who have trouble making conversation may bond with their coworkers over their love of animals. What's more, positive social interaction increases job satisfaction and morale.
- Helps employees cope with mental illness. Cats make fantastic emotional support animals and can help with the effects of mental illness. Petting animals is shown to increase feel-good hormones and decrease stress, which is paramount when coping with mental illness.
- Improves employee retention. Did you know allowing pets at work can help employee retention and attract new employees too? Adapting a pet-friendly company policy makes the business appear progressive, which is appealing to potential talent and current employees.
- Makes us healthier. According to the CDC, being around pets lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. Having pets in the workplace could potentially mean less work missed for doctors appointments and illnesses, which benefits employers as much as employees.
As with anything, there are some cons to adopting a pet-friendly company policy. Some valid concerns include:
- Allergies. Cats can pose a threat to employee health if employees have allergies to pet dander. Some people's allergies are quite severe; this is why it's always a good idea to check with your coworkers before bringing your feline to work.
- Fears. Feline phobias can also cause problems in the workplace. Likewise, many people have no experience with cats and may be wary of them for that reason.
- Disruptions. Pets causing disruptions and distractions is an obvious concern when allowing pets into the workplace. Meowing, running around, and scratching can all take a pet parent's attention off their job.
- Property damages. Property damage is a risk when allowing any pets in an office space. Pets could have an accident on the floor, knock over office supplies, or scratch up the furniture. What's more, the company may be responsible for fixing the things that the cat tears up.
- Liability. Company liability is always a concern when bringing pets to work. A cat bite or scratch could stir up trouble should a customer or fellow employee become injured. Likewise, the company could be liable if your cat becomes injured at work.
- Exposure. If there are other cats on the premises, there is always a risk that your cat could face exposure to illnesses. For this reason, you should make sure your cat is vaccinated against common kitty contagions before bringing them into the workplace.
As you can see, there are many advantages and possible disadvantages to allowing cats in the workplace. Having pets on the job can cause disruptions and workplace conflicts, but they may also help improve employee performance and morale. Ultimately, it's up to the employer and the employees whether or not to have a pet policy in place.