By Jane Kennelly, Director, Frog Recruitment
At Frog HQ, we’ve long debated and deliberated an unusual topic – the merits of installing an office fish tank or frog tank. While we have postponed making a decision for now, in the interim we’ve settled on a big screen virtual YouTube fish tank , and we’ve heard reports from staff that seeing some amphibian friends on the big screen has had a calming effect on consultant nerves.
This gave us pause to think – do the presence of fish, or pets in general, improve the office atmosphere?
Fish certainly have their uses in therapeutic settings. ‘Aquarium Therapy’ is a therapeutic tool where people watch and interact with fish, and have been found to have widespread health benefits. With Alzheimer’s patients it may help with stimulating appetite, and children have been known to develop better social skills and relaxation due to contact with fish. Some dentists also keep aquariums in their waiting rooms specifically to calm the nerves of their patients. Maybe some of these positive effects spill over into the general office environment to create productivity vibes…
But when it comes to office pets, why stop at boring ‘ol fish?
According to a BIO Agency survey, the top office pets are fish, dogs, cats, tortoises, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs, geckos, snakes and tarantulas. While the jury is still out how relaxing snakes and tarantulas are, 16% of respondents reported bringing pets to work. Additionally, 55% of respondents reported that they feel more motivated by having a pet in the office.
We have loved having our own ray of sunshine Layla (a Spoodle) visit us in the office, and we definitely get a kick out of having a few unexpected furry cuddles during the day. Over at the Tumblr office, their office Pomeranian Tommy has his own Tumblr page – who knows, maybe office pet celebrities are the next big thing. After all, Boo the Pomeranian has 6.1 million Facebook Likes! Our very own Archie the frog has made somewhat of his own social media debut…
While keeping fish in the office is unlikely to result in legal liability, bringing in larger pets, like dogs, may result in potentially sticky situations, such as personal injury, property damage, issues with the landlord, and allergic reactions. To avoid our animal friends becoming an expensive faux pas, ensure all staff are pet-friendly before kicking off the office zoo.
Overall, our experience with office pets have been quite positive, and our staff love having pets, real and virtual (we have our own Talking Tom), in the office. If you’re struggling with some office stress, it may pay to encourage some animal therapy to calm nerves.
And to leave you with some wise words:
“You know, sometimes the world seems like a pretty mean place. That’s why animals are so soft and huggy.”
― Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes: Scientific Progress Goes “Boink”