Paul Steadman: What are the benefits of including pets in workplace culture?

At Nestlé, as pet food producers of Purina, we passionately believe pets and people are better together. We have welcomed dogs into our offices since 2003 and know from this experience the benefits pets bring to a workplace.

Having pets at work offers a multitude of benefits to both our business and our employees. Our research shows ‘canine colleagues’ can be a huge help in tackling workplace stress and anxiety.

It is not just pet owners who benefit, it creates greater collaboration and moments of social interaction, lowers stress levels, and keeps people active in the office. It is great for productivity too.

We also think it is great for people wanting to work for our organisation. Allowing pets in the workplace has enabled us, as employers, to offer an additional attractive recruitment and retention benefit to employees. With so many people, especially in the Millennial and Gen Z age groups, acquiring a new furry friend during the pandemic, being able to bring their dogs to work can help owners keep the costs of dog ownership down, by reducing the need for dog walkers or doggy day care.

We also have the research to back it up. In 2019, we conducted our Taking dogs into the office research with thousands of people and found that 81% believe that pet-friendly workplaces are happier workplaces. The research also found that 85% of Brits believe bringing a pet to work or working in a pet friendly environment would have a positive impact on their overall wellbeing, and 91% said they find having a dog around them a calming influence. Employees who regularly take their dogs to work are 22% more satisfied with overall working conditions than other employees.

We find having pets at work is great for pet owners, great for the pets and great for animal lovers in the office too.

Paul Steadman is head of HR at Nestlé UK and Ireland