Being a pet-friendly company could create a better employer brand to attract pet-lovers recruits. This trend could be seen as more and more employees want their workplaces to be more pet-friendly. Zulily report, for example, cited that 65 percent of employees would find it stressful to be without their pets for a week than their cell phones. Nearly 3 in 4 (71 percent) respondents would even take a pay cut if they could bring their pets to work every day.
Seeing this trend, more companies are transforming into pet-friendly company to stay competitive in a fierce talent market. Amazon, Airbnb, Uber, and Ceros are among industries that do not want to miss the trends of retaining and engaging its workers through enabling pet-friendly workplaces. However, a new question emerged.
While flexible or working from home can be a good alternative, it might not answer the entire problem. Linda McCormick, a journalist and travel writer, voiced her opinion at The Week citing that pet-friendly rule is not for everyone, including herself. She stated that working with dogs or cats around could actually distract her attention and make her less focused on doing daily tasks. She also has an allergy to dogs. While she had an option to work from home, McCormick stated that working from home is a lonely gig for social butterflies who crave for human-connection.
That said, pet-friendly is not necessarily a good perk for everyone. Someone who is a social butterfly like McCormick might suffer the most from this rule. Other than that, implementing a pet-friendly policy would need extra care from the executives because those who are animal-phobic will likely turn to competitors who can provide better assistance.
If employers want to enable the animal–friendly policy despite the existence of some animal-phobic employees, HR can design some rules to help both pet lovers and animal-phobic work in harmony. Here are some of the examples.
Pet-friendly company is interesting, however, if most of your workers do not want it, then do not start it just to lure a few potential candidates that might not be as loyal as your existing employees. Hence, you can start a vote with your in-house team whether a pet-friendly policy will suit them or not. If most of the employees said yes, you can build up an animal-free space.
If your office is big enough and the logistics allow for this, a pet-free space option could be a great idea. Pet-free space can also be an option where employees can work without a dog or cat around. Employees can also work peacefully without worrying about their allergy or phobia.
HR can always take preventive action from any unwanted issue. In this case, HR can tell candidates about their pet-friendly policy and its options if the potential candidates are allergic or animal-phobic.
While you might have proceeded to provide animal-free space, you should not ignore those who are allergic to pets. It is always good to have a detailed conversation with those who don’t agree about the pet-friendly policy because they might have severe allergies to animals. This could be a serious problem as severe allergies could lead to a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.
Therefore, to avoid an unwanted accident from such allergy, you need to give choice to the allergic employees. First, you can offer flexible working (remote work). You can also offer weekly or monthly animal-free meetings outside the workplace, therefore, those who have allergy do not feel abandoned because of their inability to adjust to the new animal-friendly rules.