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August 2018

Pro pet: I love office pets!

Written by Nicole Horne
Cleanliness and Hygiene

Have you ever brought your fur companion to the office? There is a rising trend amongst office workers of bringing their pets to work with them, and many benefits have been reported from doing so.

Increasing numbers of companies are flexible about allowing pets to come to work, but for online retail giant, Amazon, dogs have been central to their workforce for the past two decades. Their top dog, Rufus was ‘responsible’ for clicking the mouse on their launch of their first webpages, and they have even named one of their buildings after him. They currently have more than 1000 dogs that visit their Seattle office on a daily basis. Amazon, Google and Etsy even offer pet insurance to their employees.

I did research on the topic and found that bringing pets to the office has a number of positive effects on employees, and on employers too! 

Pet-friendly policies give human resources a competitive edge

According to Tami Majer, senior vice president of People and Organization for Banfield Pet Hospital, a workplace that allows pet provides companies with a competitive edge in attracting talent, which is true particularly in respect to millenials who tend to favour experiences and furbabies over financial stability and family.

ZA - Initial - Blog Image - Pro pet I love office pets! - 2

According to Fortune, 67% of Human Resource Decision Makers (HRDM’s) say that candidates often ask about pet-friendly work policies during their interview process, while almost 80% of employers say they bring it up as a recruitment tool. 

Not only do pet-friendly policies succeed in attracting candidates, they are also beneficial in employee retention. Half of employees at workplaces that aren’t pet-friendly said that they would be more likely to stay with their company if they had the choice of bringing their pet to work with them.

Pets reduce stress levels as well as improve employee morale and well-being

As a mom to furkids, this is especially true. They know how to comfort me after a tough day and can even bring a smile to my face in even the most serious moments. Obviously it would be biased of me to conclude this based only on personal opinion, but who is one to challenge the facts, right?

Banfield Pet Hospital have put together data from their “Pet Friendly Workplace PAWrometer” (pets at work barometer) survey to demonstrate the positive impact of pets in the office. 1006 colleagues and 200 HRDM’s were surveyed, and the results showed:

  • Colleagues (88%) and HRDM’s (91%) agreed that pets in the office improved employee morale
  • Colleagues (86%) and HRDM’s (93%) agreed that pets in the office improved employee sense of well-being
  • Colleagues (86%) and HRDM’s (92%) agreed that pets in the office reduce guilt of leaving pets at home
  • Colleagues (86%) and HRDM’s (92%) agreed that pets in the office reduced stress for employees

ZA - Initial - Blog Image - Pro pet I love office pets! - 3Source: Banfield Pet Hospital

Having pets at the office have also shown to break down communication barriers, allowing colleagues to interact and bond with one another.

Pets at work improve work-life balance

As the above survey shows, bringing pets to work allow employees to have a better  work-life balance. This is because having your pet around encourages employees to take more regular breaks, stroll outdoors and engage in playtime. This in turn is also a good productivity booster as taking regular breaks improve focus levels. 

From a personal point of view, all the above points ring true for me. On the days when I’m working from home my two dogs provide me with not only the best companionship, but also allow me to take them for a walk and enjoy time outdoors. I find that taking a break gives me renewed energy to continue with my workload and also ensures a happy (and supportive) environment. 

Taking dogs to work is not only a stress-reliever in my opinion,  but also - considering the research done - allows for a collaborative and more productive workspace.


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Nicole Horne

Nicole Horne

Nicole is a Digital Marketing Executive at Rentokil Initial Hygiene in Johannesburg. A self-proclaimed germaphobe, her love for hygienic environments and curiosity of all things “beneath the surface” fuels her enthusiasm for writing about the impact of germs in the workplace. She is passionate about creating awareness and sharing her knowledge on the impact of good hygiene practices. Follow Nicole on Twitter and LinkedIn for updates on the the good, the bad and the germy.

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