How to Create a Pet-Friendly Workplace

(Family Features) In the last five years, pet-friendly offices have increased in popularity and companies are developing accommodating policies that benefit both pets and the offices they join.

For example, the Mars Petcare office has been pet-friendly for more than a decade, and its associates continue to see benefits in the workplace culture with furry companions at their sides.

“Having pets in the office can improve productivity and collaboration with colleagues,” said Dave Bradey, vice president of people and organization at Mars Petcare. “More importantly, people want to work in pet-friendly offices – 87% of business leaders we surveyed across the country cited welcoming pets as a great tool to attract and retain talent.”

The company recently opened the doors to its new North American headquarters designed as the “Pet-Friendly Workplace of the Future.” Every aspect of the office features elements to foster a positive working environment for associates and their four-legged friends, including acres of outdoor green space, indoor dog play areas, full-time “pet sitters,” automated water bowls, furniture with pet-friendly fabric and more.

Here are a few ways to encourage pet-friendliness in the workplace, and you can find more tips and tools to welcome pets to work at BetterCitiesForPets.com.

Make it Feel like Home – To help your pet feel comfortable in a new environment, consider what he or she appreciates at home and try to create similarities in your office space. If your pup has a bed at home, for example, consider a similar bed to keep near your desk.

Facilitate Connections – While many companies prioritize culture in their efforts for hiring and retention, there’s an avenue many don’t immediately consider as a team-building asset: pets. A study conducted by the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition revealed that pet owners, specifically dog owners, often develop friendships through discussion and bonding over their pets. These facilitated introductions are transferrable to the office and can help foster a more communicative team.

Encourage Communication – In order to help transition your office toward being more pet-friendly, communicate with colleagues to implement policies and guidelines for those bringing furry friends to the office. Be sure to clearly share any boundaries or rules within the office so everyone can be on the same page when it comes to pet-friendly policies.

Highlight the Benefits – According to a WALTHAM report, evidence shows pet-friendly offices are associated with increased productivity, reduced stress and better moods among employees. Taking short breaks throughout the day has been linked to productivity and is necessary with pets in the office. Workplaces can encourage these breaks by accommodating owners with pet daycare rooms to visit or outside spaces for trips throughout the day.

 

Photos courtesy of Fotolia.

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