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From the Small Actions Directory

Office Pet
Small Action Category: Mental Health | Safety, Health & Wellness

Adopting a business or office pet or allowing employees to bring their pets to work can significantly impact the workplace environment and culture. Not only does it add a touch of joy and companionship, but it also aligns with socially responsible practices by promoting employee wellbeing and happiness.

What Does It Mean to Adopt a Business or Office Pet?

Adopting a business or office pet involves regularly bringing a pet, such as a dog or cat, into the workplace environment. Options include officially adopting a pet by the business that stays there full time (think bookstore cats) or a policy allowing employees to bring their pets to work.

Why is Adopting a Business or Office Pet a Socially Responsible Action?

Adopting a business or office pet is a socially responsible action because it promotes several important values and benefits:

  • Employee Wellbeing: Having pets in the workplace can reduce stress, boost morale, and improve employees' overall wellbeing.
  • Work-Life Balance: Allowing employees to bring their pets to work can help them better integrate their personal and professional lives, increasing job satisfaction and productivity.
  • Inclusivity: Pets in the workplace can create a more inclusive environment, accommodating employees who may otherwise face challenges with pet care arrangements.
  • Community Building: Pets uniquely bring people together and foster a sense of community among colleagues, improving teamwork and collaboration.
  • Promote Animal Adoption and Welfare: By adopting pets for the office, businesses contribute to promoting animal adoption and welfare. It raises awareness about the importance of rescuing animals in need and may also provide homes for pets who may have otherwise been overlooked in shelters. This action aligns with broader social responsibility initiatives to support animal welfare and reduce pet overpopulation.

How Can Adopting a Business or Office Pet Help Your Business?

Adopting a business or office pet can benefit your business in several ways:

  1. Increase Employee Happiness: A pet-friendly workplace can lead to happier and more satisfied employees, positively impacting productivity and retention.
  2. Enhance Employee Relationships: Pets can serve as icebreakers and conversation starters, helping employees connect on a more personal level and strengthening relationships within the team.
  3. Improve Workplace Culture: A pet-friendly environment can contribute to a positive and vibrant workplace culture, attracting top talent and enhancing employer branding.
  4. Boost Productivity: Research has shown that having pets in the workplace can reduce stress and increase employee focus and productivity.

How Can You Get Started?

To start implementing a pet-friendly policy in your business, follow these steps:

  1. Assess Feasibility: Consider the practicalities of having pets in the workplace, including space, safety, and potential allergies or sensitivities.
  2. Establish Guidelines: Develop clear guidelines and policies regarding pet behavior, care responsibilities, and any necessary accommodations.
  3. Communicate with Employees: Solicit employee feedback and involve them in decision-making to ensure buy-in and support.
  4. Create a Pet-Friendly Environment: Set up designated pet areas, provide amenities like water bowls and pet beds, and establish rules for pet etiquette.
  5. Educate Employees: Provide training and resources to help employees understand their responsibilities and promote a positive pet-friendly culture.

Remember, This May Not Be for Everyone:

While adopting a business or office pet can have numerous benefits, it's essential to recognize that it may not suit every business or work environment. Before implementing a pet-friendly policy, consider the nature of your business, the preferences of your employees, and any practical limitations. You may also have liabilities to discuss with your lawyer and insurance agent. 

Add: “*And remember… don't just “do” an action. Make that action effective. Learn more about what it means to make your actions effective in our related blog post.”

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About Small Actions

Small Actions are steps that you can take to do more social good through your Small Business.

They are organized into 4 categories as part of the Small Actions Framework, a unique approach to Small Business Social Responsibility.

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