Pet-Friendly Offices: Have Businesses Gone Barking Mad?

It’s long been accepted that a dog is a man’s best friend, it may therefore come as a surprise to learn that for many, our four-legged friends are bad for business.

It is estimated that 1.7m UK businesses now adopt a pet-friendly policy, but in a survey conducted by, it seems our opinions on pets at work are very much divided. More than half of the 2,000 staff surveyed believe that having pets in the workplace reduces productivity. But, productivity wasn’t the only complaint; 20% believe pets at work increase stress levels and more than a quarter felt unable to work at all when pets are present.

In contrast, many believe pets help to boost morale, giving employees the opportunity to talk to colleagues about non-work matters.

It seems the distraction caused is not limited to sheer animal-related excitement. Many people surveyed were concerns about office hygiene when our furry friends are present and others even admitted to being allergic to the office pets! 16% of offices that allow dogs have at least one employee with a known animal allergy.

As an obvious advocate of pets at work, Animal Friends’ managing director, Westley Pearson, explained, “Animal Friends is a team of animal lovers and 9 out of 10 staff members are pet owners themselves. As a company we have made provisions to help employees give their furry friends the top level of care, including bringing pets to work with them when necessary.”

Pearson continued, “There are a number of benefits to being able to bring pets to work with you, but it’s important that everyone in the office is happy with the decision and to be aware of others’ allergies or reasons why it might be uncomfortable for those who aren’t as fond of dogs. In addition, if you take your pet to work, they may think they can nuzzle up with you at any time – even when you’re really busy, so you should be aware of that!”

How important is this subject to you? If you’re passionate one way or the other on the subject of pets at work, it may be worth checking a business’ stance on the subject before applying.