If you’re looking to improve productivity in your workplace, could office pets be the answer?
A survey from Nationwide and the Human Animal Bond Research Institute found that nine in ten employees in a pet-friendly office feel engaged with their work.
Not only that, but 88% would recommend the company to others and 91% say the business supports their physical health and wellness.
In other words, an office pet is a great way to improve staff morale and potentially, team building skills!
But before we begin our list of the best office pets to boost workplace productivity, a few words of caution. After all, most employees want to work in a clean and calm environment – some pets will hinder rather than help the ambiance.
Before you buy any office pets
First things first, check with your colleagues to see if they have any allergies or phobias.
We’ve recently written about the benefits of maintaining a clean office space for employees – part of that includes improved air quality and a reduced spread of illness.
Animal allergy symptoms can include itchy eyes and noses, sneezing, wheezing and much more. These reactions, or any fears of certain types of animals, won’t boost workplace productivity at all.
Secondly, if you value a clean and tidy office, think about the type of pet you get. A hamster in a cage won’t make much mess, but giving a dog free reign of the office is another story.
Lastly, in terms of boosting productivity, some staff may get too distracted by the presence of an office pet. It’s worth gauging how your employees are likely to respond to the new mascot and remember, some animals are more distracting than others…
Our canine companions are the UK’s most popular pets – according to UK Pet Food, 31% of us have a dog at home. There are 12 million pet dogs in the UK.
Many dogs are highly sociable, so they can put a smile on the employees’ faces when they need it most. It’s also great exercise to take the office dog for a walk during a lunch break.
Can’t decide which breed is right for your office? Consider letting your staff decide.
Dog-friendly offices are very common. You could let employees bring their own dogs to work – as long as they’re well behaved, that is!
After dogs, our feline friends are the next most popular UK pet. UK Pet Food estimates there are 11 million pet cats in the UK across 26% of homes.
Cats tend to bring a calmer presence to the office. They’re most likely to curl up in a corner or on a chair somewhere, rather than prowl around looking for attention.
There are few things more relaxing than taking a quick break to stroke a cute cat or play with them.
For a lower-maintenance option, rabbits are the next best bet. They’ll happily spend time in their hutch until you let them hop around the office to get some exercise!
Rabbits are quiet yet sociable, capable of looking after themselves but also ready to be petted if your colleagues need a few minutes away from their tasks.
Guinea pigs are also easy to look after – they’re well behaved and sociable, also incredibly cute.
However, bear in mind that they’ll sometimes squeal when they’re excited, which may seem incongruous if your office is a typically quiet place.
Another low-maintenance option is the humble hamster. If you’re worried about an office pet being too distracting, hamsters tend to sleep in their cage most of the time.
But hamsters don’t have a long lifespan, living for only two to three years, so they are only a short-term option as an office pet.
Let’s take a look at some avian alternatives that are good office pets.
Budgies and parakeets, types of parrot, are the most popular indoor bird pets.
Do your research though as different birds have different preferences. Canaries are solitary whereas lovebirds or cockatiels need regular attention, otherwise their behaviour worsens.
Reptile office pets
Allergic to fur and feathers, or just looking for something a little different? Reptiles can be cute and eye-catching, without being too distracting for your hard-working employees.
- Tortoises: Quiet and easy to care for, but only smaller ones make good indoor pets
- Geckos: Stunning and docile, put prefer not to be handled too frequently
- Pogonas: Also known as bearded dragons – what else is there to say? It’s your chance to have a pet dragon in the office!
Aquarium office pets
Arguably there’s nothing more visually stunning in an office than an aquarium or tank. For large units, you may need to optimise your office space planning so that your pets are in a sensible place.
- Fish: Colourful fish act as office pets as well as pretty decor
- Sea-monkeys: Lower maintenance than fish as they rarely need food
- Hermit crabs: When they outgrow their shells, hermit crabs upgrade to bigger ones, just as employees move onto new roles when they outgrow their old ones!
Risky office pet ideas
Definitely ask staff what their reactions would be to having any of the following as office pets, before making a risky purchase.
- Ants: Low maintenance office pets, but not the cutest…
- Ferrets: Very sweet but a little smelly!
- Hedgehogs: Cute but nocturnal and need lots of care
- Rats: Highly intelligent but also very divisive as pets in the office!
- Snakes: Too frightening as a mainstream office pet
- Snails: Slimy!
- Stick insects: A niche choice to say the least…
- Tarantulas: As above with snakes, a risk not worth taking!
Even if your colleagues are fond of any of these rare office pet ideas, it’s hard to make the case for them boosting productivity.
Office pets – other considerations
It goes without saying, but check with your staff first before getting an office pet.
If your office has embraced hybrid working, you may find that employees see less need for a pet at work than in the past. If they have their own pet, they’re probably enjoying more time with their furry friends than they used to.
And of course if you’re moving offices anytime soon, plan ahead to make sure your office pet will have a safe journey.
Then in terms of cleanliness, it’s not just allergies or shedding fur you need to think about. Many pets are very messy.
They may get sick and some aren’t toilet-trained as well as others. Neither your staff, nor any visiting clients will want to see pet mess, so regular and thorough cleaning is essential.
Final thoughts: Best office pets to boost workplace productivity
Hopefully our list of office pets has given you plenty of (pet) food for thought when thinking about how to boost productivity in your workplace!
Office pets can improve workplace productivity, but a dirty office has the opposite effect.
If you’re getting an office pet, you also need to update your office cleaning checklist. The messier the pet – for example, many types of office dog – the more comprehensive your cleaning requirements.
Whether your office has a pet or not, we’re expert office cleaners in London.
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