Pet Friendly Office Spaces in NYC: Pros and Cons
Fri, 13 Sep 2019 | Written by Corporate Suites Staff
Pet Friendly Office Space Is Becoming More and More NormalIn today’s working world, companies are prioritizing finding the best methods for keeping their teams comfortable, motivated, and happy from the moment they walk through the doors to the moment they leave for the day. This has manifested in truly unique office space ideas, such as those that feature meditation rooms, spaces packed with games like foosball and ping pong, and even office spaces that boast the latest ergonomic furniture to improve posture and comfort. Another popular trend popping up in offices across NYC are pet friendly office spaces. While decades ago the idea of dog friendly offices might have seemed crazy, today’s workers are not so opposed. If you’re considering creating a pet friendly office space for your business, read the following pros and cons to help determine if it might be the right fit.
Pros of Dog Friendly OfficesThe results of numerous studies and employee surveys have provided a great deal of insight into the impact of pet friendly office spaces. Much of the feedback has been positive, indicating that there are a set of concrete pros to allowing pets into the office, particularly in cities like NYC where the number of dog owners continues to rise. Pros of dog friendly offices include:
- Happiness: Who can’t help but smile at the adorable face of a furry friend? The joy animals bring us can actually have a much deeper impact on our positivity at work. The presence of dogs in the workplace has actually been shown to result in higher levels of happiness in employees. Many companies are placing increased value on the historically overlooked work/life balance, and for a number of businesses, this means allowing a pet friendly office. Employees that are able to bring their pets to work feel as though they’re closer to achieving this balance by having an important piece of their home life with them all day.
- Stress Relief & Productivity: Anyone with a pet knows that they have the incredible ability to melt our worries away. Those that belong to dog friendly offices have indicated that the presence of pets actually helps to reduce stress thanks to the calming effect they bring, even actually lowering blood pressure and relaxing the mind. Oftentimes, stress in the workplace experienced by pet owners specifically is a result of guilt from leaving their furry ones at home alone, or from paying an arm and a leg for doggy daycare. Pet friendly office spaces remove this stress, enabling employees to ultimately be more focused and productive on the job. In fact, dog friendly offices have reported increased collaboration and team cohesion as a result of the presence of dogs in the office.
- Employee Retention: Pet friendly office spaces appear to be the way of the future, and as more employees learn that certain companies are forgoing the office no pet policy, they’re starting to look for jobs that will allow them to bring their pets to work. This trend is particularly popular among younger staff members who value businesses that prioritize the work/life balance. Implementing a pet friendly office space can help with employee retention, making your team more excited to stay in a progressive work environment that values these very important family members.
Cons of Dog Friendly OfficesWhile there are a number of clear pros to pet friendly office spaces, we can’t ignore the challenges. For some NYC companies, an office no pet policy simply makes sense. Cons of pet friendly office spaces in NYC include:
- Allergies: Dog allergies are among the most common allergies out there, and can particularly debilitating for those with more severe cases. For this reason, companies in which there are employees who suffer from allergies to dogs are therefore not good candidates for pet friendly office spaces. Just like a peanut allergy, an allergy to dogs should be taken seriously, and in some cases is even covered as a disability with the ADA. This means that if you choose to remove your office no pet policy, you could be liable for discrimination if an employee with a dog allergy suffers as a result.
- Cleanliness: One of the strongest cases for an office no pet policy is cleanliness. As cute as they may be, dogs are capable of leaving a mark in more ways than one. From accidents to a seemingly endless supply of dog hair, keeping the office in tip-top condition will require a great deal of effort, whether in the form of regular cleanings by staff or an investment in a high-quality cleaning service. It is important to also keep in mind that for many NYC office buildings, there is very little green space outside for pets to relieve themselves. This can make bathroom breaks more difficult, resulting in unsightly messes on the sidewalk outside your building. Further, the increased presence of pet hair and dander can diminish air quality, requiring the need for frequent vacuuming and dusting.
- Fear of Dogs: While it feels as though anyone and everyone has a dog these days, it’s important to recognize that there are those who do not like animals or even have a fear of dogs. In fact, the fear of dogs is one of the most common phobias today. While the presence of animals can have a calming effect for many at work, those with a fear of dogs will instead experience increased stress, a lack of focus, and heightened anxiety. Keep in mind that for those with this fear, it doesn’t matter how well-trained your pup is. No matter what, the comfort of employees should be prioritized. This means maintaining an office no pet policy if a member of your staff is unable to work at ease with dogs around.
- Distractions: Bringing pets to work will inevitably lead to distractions. Whether it be our inability to resist a petting session after a glance at those puppy dog eyes, or a break to separate a pair of dogs engaged in a rambunctious play session, the distractions caused by animals in the workplace can be frequent. If you notice productivity waning and increased focus directed on the dogs in your office, it may be time to reinstate an office no pet policy.