Debate: The workplace is not for pets

The time and place for fuzzy creatures is not at work

There should not be pet-friendly policies in the workplace. (Shutterstock/anatoliy_gleb)

There should not be pet-friendly policies in the workplace. (Shutterstock/anatoliy_gleb)

While there’s a lot to like about having pets around a workplace, there’s also some concerns that shouldn’t be overlooked. 

A recent PetSafe survey found that 51 per cent of people in British Columbia support pet-friendly workspaces, and 61 per cent of workers in the province believe a pet-friendly policy should be implemented by employers. 

Fifty-one per cent of those polled also support the idea of bringing in pets even if some don’t own one themselves, and 73 per cent of responses say having pets while they work would help reduce stress

In the survey, it is notable younger age groups are more likely to change jobs if they aren’t allowed to have pets at work. 

The survey polled 1,633 Canadians who are at least 18 years of age in March. 

As nice as the idea is to have a furry family member beside us while working, there are some things to be concerned about, such as allergies. 

According to a study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the worldwide population affected with cat or dog allergies range from 10 to 20 per cent. While this isn’t a large portion of the global population, having to treat people with allergies differently to accommodate pets wouldn’t seem fair for all involved. 

It would be difficult and potentially unfair to limit which employees could bring their pets to the workplace as to reduce the number of pets in the space at a given time to accommodate people who are allergic. Especially since having minimal to no allergic reactions to animals isn’t exactly indicative of how productive someone can be in the workforce. 

While most people own cats and dogs, there’s more uncertainty for others with more unique pets like fish and birds. There are also more bizarre possibilities of pets such as a tortoise.  

There would need to be plenty of paperwork processed and regulations put in place to satisfy most people who want to bring their pets, but even then we cannot please everyone.  

There is also the possibility pets could damage the workplace, or leave a stinky mess. 

A study from Washington State University found decreases in stress levels from having pets around, but there’s also the chance they could also take away attention and time away from work. Pets are a distraction, put simply, in more ways than one. 

While the research finds pets help reduce stress for workers shouldn’t be ignored, there are other ways to do so without relying on some furry friends. 

Increasing the number of breaks, bringing in activities to do for yourself, and allowing people to have more time off are other ways to help lower stress. They could spend more time with their pet at home that way too. 

There’s not enough to safely outweigh the risks and work to bring them in.