Allowing Pets into Your Office Space in NJ
Pets in the office – a source of joy, or a major liability? Like most other things, it’s a little bit of both. Allowing pets into the office is becoming increasingly common in the United States, and it makes sense – it gives their owner a chance to be with them during work, and it brings some joy to the place. But things aren’t quite as simple as that for the boss. In this article, Blau & Berg will discuss pets in the office – from their pros and cons, to considering a permanent pet for your office space in NJ.
What pets can be allowed in your office space in NJ?
First, let’s get a clear idea of what pets can be allowed in an office space. You’d think the answer would be ‘all of them’, but people have some weird pets!
From Workable: “Office pets are usually dogs and cats, but any pet that’s well-trained and not potentially dangerous or unpleasant is also allowed. Young animals aren’t allowed until they’re adequately trained. Pets like snakes, spiders and bunnies (which chew up cords) are prohibited in the workplace.”
So basically, just dogs and cats, pretty much. Birds could be considered, but it’s difficult to train a bird, and they may chew on your electronics. Apart from that, avoid animals that may upset or frighten people (lizards are another good example).
What are the advantages of allowing pets in the office?
There are a number of points in favor of allowing pets in your office space in NJ. Let’s go over some of the key ones:
Improving employees’ mood
The Balance Everyday says: “Having pets in the office has been shown to reduce stress and make employees feel more relaxed and comfortable. A pet-friendly workplace tends to increase employee satisfaction and to improve morale. Pets are also a point of common interest that can help to promote an atmosphere of teamwork and communication—they are a great vehicle for social interaction.”
Improve customer perception
Customers like when businesses have a ‘human’ side – whether it’s an interesting brand identity or service list, or something as simple as an office pets policy. If they see that your employees can bring pets into the workplace, they’re likelier to form a positive image of your company, which’ll help you in the long run. Plus, if they can interact with an employee’s pet (and have a positive experience), it will improve their mood – which is always good for a business.
Help employees financially
From The Balance Everyday: “Allowing owners to bring their pets to work also provides a significant financial benefit—it eliminates the additional costs of doggie daycare or dog walking services for employees who work long hours or commute a significant distance from their home each day. Daycare or walking services can be quite costly, so this can be an excellent perk for a pet-owning employee.”
Employees can work better
Since they don’t have to worry about their adorable little pet waiting patiently for them at home, your employees can focus better on what they need to do. This means increased productivity. You’re also likely to have fewer absences, since your employees can take care of the pet at work – so if the pet needs regular walks, for instance, they can take the animal out during their break.
Help relieve stress
So far we’ve talked about the owner of the pet, but having a pet in the office will help your other employees too – pets can help reduce stress. So if your staff is overworked or if they have a stressful job, a friendly little animal in the workplace may be the perfect thing for them. Stress-free employees will make fewer mistakes and will work more efficiently. The workplace atmosphere will be a lot nicer too!
It costs nothing
Unlike installing game stations and other modes of relaxation, allowing pets into the office costs practically nothing. There may be some initial expenses in setting up a pet-free area or creating a pet policy, but the overall cost would be minimal. Considering the benefits, it seems like a pretty good deal!
What are the downsides of having pets in the office?
Just like the benefits, there are a fair number of disadvantages of allowing pets in your office space in NJ. Let’s go over those:
They’ll be a distraction
The pet owner (and others) may like the pet too much, and be distracted by their presence. So instead of relieving stress and being a welcome addition, the pet becomes a problem (much like smartphones). This is a likely problem, bear in mind.
The big L word – Liability
If the pet causes damage to the premises or, worse, injury to a staff member, you’ll have a big liability on your hands. This is a major stumbling block on the road, and a good reason for not allowing pets in the office.
If you’re renting a space, the lease terms may not permit animals, in which case you’ll have to jump through a lot of hurdles. It may not be worth the effort, considering the other disadvantages.
Allergies and other issues
Not everyone likes pets. Some people have genuine medical concerns, such as allergies, which may make it impossible for them to work when a cat or dog is around. Some others may be afraid of animals, or may be simply uncomfortable around them. If you have an office structure that permits certain employees to work in a pet-free area, this issue can be avoided.
So as you can see, there are compelling arguments both for and against allowing pets in the office. You’ll have to make a decision based on your particular circumstances and your employees.
Considering a permanent pet for your office space in NJ
A few years ago, the internet went into a fury when the White Settlement Public Library fired their friendly tabby cat, Browser. After much backlash, the library decided to let the cat keep its job – the cat was in fact promoted to “Library Cat for Life”.
If you like the idea of having an animal in the office but can’t (or don’t want to) allow employees to bring their own pets, this is a wonderful alternative.
Fish are the most popular office pet in the US, but we advise against getting them, because they don’t evoke the same feeling cats and dogs do. They’re easier to take care of, but they’re really more comparable to living scenery.
When considering a permanent office pet, think in terms of behavior. Don’t get young animals, for instance, because they’re hyperactive and needy. A noisy, friendly dog or cat isn’t suitable either, because it will distract your staff by barking/meowing, or by jumping onto their laps and asking for pets.
An elderly animal may be a good idea. If your local shelter has an elderly dog or cat that likes to nap most of the day, that’s perfect! Your employees will love their presence, but the animal won’t be a disturbance. As long as you have a pet-free area, employees with allergies (or who don’t like animals) will be comfortable too.
Creating an office pet policy
Assuming your landlord allows pets and your business doesn’t have to do with food, you can get an office pet – or have employees bring their pets to the workplace. But before that happens, you need an office pet policy. Here are some items you need to include:
The pets must be vaccinated
From business.com: “Vaccinations protect pets from potentially life-threatening diseases and infections, some that might even be transmitted to humans. For the safety of both your pets and your workers, you should require proof of vaccination before allowing any animal in the office.”
The pets must be potty-trained and well-behaved
This is obvious. A noisy, aggressive pet will cause problems, and a pet that isn’t potty-trained…well, you can guess how that’ll go. You might want to avoid cats for this reason, because unless they’re potty-trained you’ll need a litter box in the office.
The office must have pet-free zones
As discussed previously, designated pet-free zones are very important in the office (for more reasons than one).
The premises must be kept clean
The pet owner will be responsible for ensuring the pet doesn’t create a mess in the office. This includes bathroom messes, slobber, and hair. Animals must be thoroughly brushed before being brought in, and if they leave fur all over the place, their owner will be responsible for cleaning it up.
The office must have a complaint system
An anonymous complaint system will ensure that if some of your employees aren’t happy with the idea, they can make themselves heard without having to face backlash. A simple letterbox installed somewhere discreet will do.
Finding the perfect office space in NJ
If you need to find an office space in NJ, get in touch with Blau & Berg. We’ll sift through thousands of available properties and find you ones that match your needs. If you need a space that’s affordable and pet-friendly, for instance, we’ll get you one that meets both those requirements.