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How Pet-Friendly Offices Can Transform Your State of Mind

Hannah Watkins
Hannah Watkins|

Meet Rudy. The newest and cutest member of the HubbleHQ team.

rudy for blog

Meet Wiley. One of the longest-standing members of the HubbleHQ team.

Wiley

Wiley joined the team at the beginning of 2018, and since then, he’s been present in the office a few days a week – and we love it. Newton also joined the team over a year ago, to be a furry friend to Wiley and to the rest of the team.

But it’s not just a novelty. Yes, it’s lovely having Wiley, Rudy and Newton around – but the pets-at-work phenomenon has become more and more common in recent years, and not just for reasons of ease and practicality (although that’s certainly a factor). Studies have proven that the presence of animals in the workplace can actually have substantial positive effects on employees’ health and happiness. And not only on that of the owner – but of colleagues and coworkers alike.

In fact, over the past few years, some of the world’s biggest brands have established pet-friendly policies in their offices. Nestlé introduced their Pets At Work (PAW) programme as part of their Health and Wellbeing agenda in 2014, and have enjoyed great success ever since. Another company backing the initiative is Amazon, who have at least 6,000 dogs “working” in their offices on any given day.

Follow our official office dogs Instagram page, for more pupdates on Wiley, Rudy and Newton. 

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Pets at work

So if it’s not just a fun fad, what exactly are the benefits?

Health benefits

A study by Central Michigan University found that having pets in the workplace is a proven way to lower stress levels, heart rate, and blood pressure, whether it be through access to employees’ own pets or other people’s. Offices can often be stressful places, and playing with or petting an animal can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease production of the stress hormone cortisol.

Office pets can also help individuals who work alone feel less lonely – ideal if you’re a freelancer or part of a small team.

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Another byproduct of taking a pet to work is the increase in exercise reported by owners. Everybody knows that taking regular breaks and getting fresh air away from your desk can do wonders for your health (and sanity), but it can be easy to forget when you’re in work mode. With a pet around, a short walk is not solely for your benefit, so you’re much more likely to take that time to stretch yours and your pet’s legs.

Work benefits

Benefits amongst those in pet-friendly environments aren’t purely of a personal nature – gains can also be made from a professional point of view. Interestingly, the same study discussed above found that people are perceived as more friendly and approachable when a dog is present in the office, thus easing work tensions and mitigating conflict. It also noted that dogs increase cooperation and other positive behaviours among members of work groups – favourable characteristics in any team dynamic.

From an employer’s point of view, allowing your team to bring their pets to work can definitely work in your favour especially when attracting new hires. A survey conducted by Purina revealed that 47 per cent of 18-24 year-olds view bringing a pet to work as a work perk. It also hints to a certain work culture that puts the health and happiness of employees first, regardless of whether you have a pet or not.

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Such benefits have definitely been replicated here at HubbleHQ. Wiley belongs to one of our tenant advisory team, Daniel:

“We work in a coworking space, and having Wiley around is a great way of striking up conversation and meeting new people in the common areas. The same applies when clients come to the office – it’s a natural ice breaker.”

Of course, having pets in the office isn’t for everybody. Allergies and preferences of coworkers also need to be taken into account to ensure that a well-intentioned policy doesn’t backfire. The behaviour of pets is also a key element to take into consideration. The system that Nestlé have in place aims to minimise any issues – pets are introduced to the workplace through a three phase programme which includes a questionnaire, two behaviour assessments, plus a health check and in-office probation period – to ensure that the initiative can run smoothly.

Demand for pet-friendly offices

At HubbleHQ, we’ve experienced the increase in demand for pet-friendly offices first hand. In Flex and the City 2019, our data-driven guide to finding office space in London, our data shows that demand for pet-friendly offices increased by 14% last year alone.

Fortunately, the flexible workspace market is more than keeping up with the times, and a huge proportion of our office providers are open to the idea – such as Work.Life. Their six offices are all dog-friendly, and their team are strong believers in the benefits that a bit of dog therapy can bring.

Airspace

But there are hundreds of other workspaces happy to accommodate your furry friend. Simply filter your search on HubbleHQ by “Pets Allowed” and you’ll find all of your options in one single place. Try it now:

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