Whether you work alone and are simply looking for a workplace companion, or have an office full of great team players, all of whom would love to have an office pet, there is something (or someone) out there for you. While there are naturally some considerations to mull over with your business (or yourself, for us self-employed folk!), there are very few reasons as to why you cannot have an office pet around your workplace.
Low maintenance office pets are great to have around when getting on with the daily grind. They listen when you’re mulling over different options, they lower stress and help to calm us down and- according to the National Institute of Health- pet owners are less likely to suffer from anxiety, obesity, and high cholesterol. Taking into account the many benefits of getting a great office pet, it’s hard to see any reasons why you shouldn’t get yourself a workplace pet!
Things To Consider When Buying An Office Pet
While there’s a pet for every workplace, not every workplace is suitable for all animals. It’s really important when looking into the best pet for your workplace that you take into consideration some of the fundamentals of pet ownership, combined with effectively running your business.
- Health and Safety
Unfortunately, if you’re working in an environment that is open to the public you’ll need to be aware of the rules and regulations around possible allergies or incidents that can occur. Likewise, any business that is dealing with food or catering may struggle to get their pets past their local food standards agency. Research your options carefully and thoroughly, so you’re prepared to pass every hurdle placed in front of you.
Obviously, we all love animals here. Yet it’s natural that some animals simply won’t want to be kept around people all day, every day. Likewise, you might find a pet that is great in the household but can become nervous around strangers. If you’re looking into buying the best office pet for your business, it’s a good idea to delve into some of the drawbacks that each species will natural have- and be sure to train your pet where possible!
- Mess and Maintenance
It’s all fun and games until your office pet decides they can’t hold it in, anymore! If you think you’re unlikely to have the time to give clean your pet’s home out, or let it outside to do its business, it’s a good idea to hold off on having an office pet. At least, until you’re sure you can keep up with the maintenance involved. Smaller, furry creatures need a clean home, so keep on top of cleaning out cages, while larger pets will want more exercise and need the space. Take a look at our top picks to see if any of these low maintenance office pets work for your business.
Caring For Your Pet
While this can also fall under “maintenance”, it’s important for all pet owners to know their stuff when choosing the best office pet for them. If you aren’t able to regularly give your furry friend a cuddle, clean out the fish tanks or even remember what and how often your pet eats, it’s safe to say that it’s probably not a great idea to buy a pet for your workplace. Remember, these are living creatures that deserve our respect, love, and attention! It can be a great idea to set up a rota that allows each of your employees a designated time to spend with your office pet, which can also help stop your new friend from being crowded and becoming stressed, too.
Benefits of Workplace Pets
Aside from having a bundle of cute in the office every day, there is some interesting research on why having an office pet can actually increase productivity and help create a more relaxing and enjoyable work environment.
- Improved workplace cohesion
Aside from sounding a little robotic, workplace cohesion is when employees from different sectors work together to create better solutions for the business, as a whole. One study by Central Michigan University found that colleagues who had a canine companion throughout their thought process registered increased levels of trust and intimacy, versus those who did not. The moral of the story? Offices who have furry friends alongside them are less likely to have fallings-out and are more likely to work as a team.
- Productivity increases
There’s nothing quite like having the pressure of meeting a deadline to make you realise just how important productivity is. Having a pet around can result in more short breaks- while this may seem contradictive, it’s a known fact that having regular breaks throughout the day can help with efficiency since your brain is more likely to be recharged and ready for the task ahead.
- Job satisfaction improves
Speaking of satisfaction, it’s easy to get lost in the numbers game of wanting to get the most out of your job, while keeping a good work-life balance. Studies have shown that, when a pet has been introduced to the workplace, employees feel the double-bonus of both added responsibility, while having their stressed reduced. In fact, one study by Banfield showed that having pets around made workers feel that their work-life balance had improved dramatically, which in turn increased their job satisfaction rates and increased their sense of wellbeing.
Best Office Pets
Without further ado, here is our list of great office pets to have around your place of work. This isn’t an all-encompassing list, so don’t worry if your preferred pet isn’t on here, since it’s very likely that any pet can be a benefit to your office, as long as the right research is done. These are in order of smallest to largest, so as to avoid any undue favouritism, of course!
The epitome of low maintenance office pets. Fish and their fish tanks can induce some great meditative moments in the office. While you can’t pick up and pet a fish, it can be very relaxing to have a well-cared-for fish tank around. They give employees something to look at while thinking, without being distracting and the sound of water can be very soothing- unless your employees need the loo. In which case it can at least encourage workers to take regular bathroom breaks.
Remember to clean out your tank on a regular basis and add in some lovely fish tank decorations, so your fish aren’t simply swimming back-and-forth. Also, be sure to give them the right water for their type, with a heated tank if required- and don’t forget to feed them! Some great examples of low maintenance fish include:
Given that hamsters are the most popular pets for children, you can be sure that your new office pet will be both easy to care for and very cute. Remember that these little guys are nocturnal, so may not want to be fussed too much during the day, although they’re friendly enough to hold and stroke. Check with your local pet centre for the more sociable breeds, since some types do prefer to be left alone and can give a rather sharp bite if handled too much. You should also invest in a sturdy cage since hamsters can make for cracking escape artists, as well as a good hamster ball, which will allow them to burn off any excess energy while keeping them safe.
Another member of the rodent family, rats get a bad rep for being vermin yet are one of the cleanest pets around. Pet rats are also known as “fancy rats”, though that doesn’t necessarily mean you can pop them in a top-hat and dinner jacket. They are extremely sociable and are best kept in pairs, so as not to become lonely. You’ll also have to watch your wires around the office since they’re very curious and love to have a gnaw.
One of the many benefits of owning a rat is that they can be litter-trained- in fact, it’s encouraged, since the ammonia from their urine can become quite unpleasant, otherwise. Like us, they are omnivores and will eat most things given to them, though a healthy diet for a rat should consist of grains, vegetables, and even a little dry dog food.
Our last selection from the rodents (although recent studies indicate they may be more closely related to rabbits). Degus are very friendly, very sociable little creatures who live in groups of over 100 in the wild. Thus, it’s best to buy multiples, which will keep them happier and more comfortable in their surroundings. They’re also rather intelligent and love to play games with their owners, despite not being big fans of being handled. Keep your new friend stimulated with a large cage that has lots of hidden treats, a sand-bath, and a nice, cool temperature since they become uncomfortable in areas that are 20C or higher.
While they’re not always going to be everybody’s cup of tea, having a gecko around the office can be surprisingly uplifting. They’re relaxed enough to deal with not being handled all day, every day- yet sociable enough to appreciate a good fuss at the right time. The most common type to have as a pet is the Leopard Gecko, who will need a tasty, nutritious diet of insects. Not just any old insects, though. Those that are being fed to your new friend will need a good selection of mealworms, waxworms, crickets, and superworms – all of whom will need their own powdered diet, to be given at least 12 hours before being fed to your new office pet. This might seem like high-maintenance, but any pet shop will help you out where they can, sometimes even giving you pre-fed insects to feed your new gecko and feeding only needs to take place every other day. They can also be left over the weekends, which makes them ideal as office pets.
Though they can be fairly “chatty”, budgie birds are great to have around the office as they enjoy being around people (and each other, so try to get at least two if you decide on these little guys like your new office pet). They’ll happily sit on your shoulder or finger, which can be very entertaining- though they are also known to poo a lot. Luckily, this doesn’t smell much and can be localised to their cage or perch, which will need cleaning about once a week.
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Did you know rabbits can be litter trained? Though very few people keep their bunnies out in the open, it’s best for rabbits to have free-reign, being kept only in a cage if it’s big and comfortable enough for them to run around in. As long as they are well socialised from a young age and are fed a healthy diet of veggies, hay, and grass, rabbits are fantastically low-maintenance pets to have around the office. One word of warning, though- keep wires hidden from the inquisitive little bunnies, since they are more than likely to have a good chew.
Another option that may divide opinions, snakes are fantastically low maintenance office pets. All they need is a vivarium that suits their needs. While they may be a talking point for visitors to your workplace, be sure that you can handle feeding your new pet snake some tasty snacks in the form of mice and rats. Of course, if you already own some of these, it’s probably best not to choose a snake, since you might notice a few going missing…
As one of the most popular pets across the world, it’s not surprising that cats have made their way onto this list. As with all cats, the main rule to follow with your office cat is to leave them alone when they want and socialise with them when they want. Basically, do everything that they want, on their terms- after all, isn’t their tenacious independence why we love cats?
On a slightly more sociable note. Dogs are man’s best friend for a reason. A well-trained dog is the perfect office companion, no matter what size your institution is. They’re the only animal (so far) that has been proven to increase levels of serotonin (the happy hormone) in humans- and there has been evidence to suggest that their own serotonin levels increase when around us humans. You should, of course, remember that it’s a good idea to have your dog walked throughout the day, which can be a great way to spend a lunch hour. Though many might not see the humble dog as a low-maintenance pet, if your dog is well-socialised and kept physically and mentally stimulated, there’s no reason why having a dog in your office should cause any havoc.
All animals need to be well-cared for and to have their natural pros and cons taken into account. Yet we feel that the list above gives some great examples of pets that increase workplace happiness and productivity, while also allowing for your new pets to be well cared for. Remember that some of these choices will need constant care, even when your office is on a break and please do speak to your vet if you have any concerns whatsoever about the best office pet for you.