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How Pets Increase Productivity: 7 Benefits of Having Pets at Work

So, many of us are back in the office now. And that’s complicated because we all adopted (ahem…more) pets between 2020 and 2022… oops! I guess we thought we’d be working remotely forever.

But wait… could a world exist where we worked in the office and stayed attached at the hip to our best fur friends?

And could it be that such a world was *gasp* even more productive?

Well, we think so. Here are 7 reasons we should be bringing out pets into work.

1. Pets can increase morale and help reduce stress levels among employees.

A 2022 research study found that brain activity increased when people had contact with a dog. According to the published article, their observations “confirmed previous studies linking closer contact with animals [...] with increased brain activation.” In other words, pets light up our brains! In fact, they specifically light up the prefrontal cortex, which is the part responsible for planning, setting goals, and feeling positive. That’s the part we want to have turned on at work, right?

2. Pets can help to create a sense of community and foster collaboration among colleagues.

We live in pretty divisive times. We’re not always going to agree with our coworker’s views. But that doesn’t mean we can’t bond over how cute their dog is! In a world where it can be hard to connect with others, pets are an easy bridge between people. Coworkers who can find at least one point of connection work better together, trust one another better, and generate better work.

3. Having pets around can help to reduce feelings of loneliness and isolation.

While diversity is a standard that many organizations are striving for these days, inclusion and belonging are trickier to figure out. Even after being hired, employees may still feel isolated— especially since so many are new to their jobs or have worked remotely for such a long time. Having an animal companion nearby can help workers feel less lonely and turn them into a homing beacon for others to approach and introduce themselves.

4. Pets can be a great conversation starter and help break the ice between co-workers.

Introducing yourself to someone with whom you don’t work directly can be hard. But how much easier would it be if you (or they) bring in a pet?! Animals are easy to connect over and get excited about. Even if employers allow pets for just one day out of the month (or stagger pet days across departments or teams) they will create dozens of opportunities for people to meet and learn about each other. And it will definitely make for a more interesting conversation than, “So where did you work before this?”

5. Pets can provide an opportunity for employees to take a break and get some fresh air outside.

Bad work-life boundaries and burnout are becoming the rule instead of the exception. With our email, social media, texting, and team management software all on our phones, it’s no wonder we’re overstimulated and mentally exhausted. Bringing in a pet helps break that up. For example, a dog requires periodic breaks where we have to put down what we’re doing, stand up, and move away from our desks. That’s something our step trackers can’t even get us to do! You can even bring in toys like a pawTree LED fetch stick to log some playtime.

6. Pets can be a unique way to show appreciation and reward employees for their hard work.

Are you all out of ideas for employee rewards and incentives? Try a bring-your-pet-to-work pass! Some employees actually pay for pet care during the day so that they can work out of the home. A bring-your-pet-in option can save someone hundreds of dollars and boost their mental health at work. Not to mention how happy their furry friend will be! Can you say, win-win-win?

7. Having pets in the workplace can help to attract and retain talent as well as improve employee retention.

Companies have to be creative to keep their talent around these days. Employees are expecting more and more of their bosses as job opportunities abound. Creating a pet-friendly environment for employees may not only incentivize them to stick around but also make the idea of working in the office more palatable.


About the Author

Kristi Diaz MD

Kristi is a retired anesthesiologist who loves helping people take good care of their pets.


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