A pet at home brings you unconditional love, attention and joy. A trained therapy pet is an animal that learns how to give comfort, love and affection to others. The job of a therapy pet is to provide support to individuals who need it. The tasks range from just petting, nuzzling or staying by the individual’s side to provide support.
Now, think about how a therapy pet can change the atmosphere of the workplace. The benefits are not just for the employees but the company too. When employees are happy, it shows in their work.
Therapy Pets Reduce Stress
If work is serious all the time, employees can become stressed and unhappy. Stress and the mood of an employee can affect their work negatively. But, therapy pets can change the workplace environment by providing smiles and laughter to the people around them. Just think about it, if an employee is having a difficult day and a therapy dog comes up to them wagging its tail and nudging for someone to pet it, you can bet there will be a smile in response to this at the very least. By lightening the mood in the workplace and keeping everyone in good spirits, employees will enjoy their time at work.
Therapy Pets Provide Love and Comfort
When a therapy pet shows a person attention, it has the capacity to change the way that person is feeling (about themself and about others around them. It is proven that animals have a calming and soothing effect on people, lowering heart rate and blood pressure as well as just making people feel good.
A therapy pet can often sense when a person is in need of comfort. When that time comes, it will pay more attention to that person and stay near them. Again, receiving the necessary attention and affection can change that person’s outlook for that moment or even for the entire day.
Therapy Pets Can Increase Morale and Work Productivity
The joy and happiness a therapy pet brings is priceless. The smiles and laughter are great rewards for your employees. However, that is not the only benefit from a therapy pet. When employees are happy, the morale in the company increases. The increase in morale translates into those employees becoming more productive. More productive employees results in higher profitability for the company (through better employee retention, less training of new people, and general increased attention to work) .
The Downside to Therapy Pets at Work
There are a few reasons that could deter you from allowing therapy pets at work. The first includes the additional costs associated with pets. You will need to make sure the animal has a place to play as well as a place to rest and take a break from working. It requires walking and exercising your pet as well as proper veterinary care, checkups, diet, etc.
Another potential issue that could arise from therapy pets at work may be employees who may have allergies, or fears when dogs or cats are around. Before you decide on adopting a therapy pet, you may want to check with employees to make sure none of them have an allergy or other special considerations, and maybe allow them to be involved in the selection process. If a cat or a dog won’t work, perhaps a hamster or other smaller animal could be an alternative.
Therapy Pet Alternatives
With technology today, some businesses are looking at robotic alternatives to the traditional therapy pet. A technologically-advanced pet would eliminate many of the negatives of a live animal. For example, you would no longer need a spot for them to do their business or even eat. Because it is mechanical, you do not have the worry about triggering allergies – but you may have the need for repairs or troubleshooting if technical issues occur.
Event though artificial intelligence is growing by leaps and bounds, the reaction of people to a live animal is truly priceless. The reaction for a robotic animal is programmed and not spontaneous. A robotic animal will not have genuine emotions towards the employees that are around, and the ‘relationship’ is different.
No matter what you decide on, a live therapy pet or an electronic alternative, the point is that you are looking to change and improve the working environment for the benefit of both the company and its employees. Both will allow your employees to grow and become happier in their position at work, creating a more positive environment which increases the morale and productivity.