France is one of the industrialized countries in the world with the most pets, that is to say an animal that has no productive interest. In 2022, it would seem that nearly 80 million pets are present in France. Very often, it is a dog, a cat, fish, birds but also new pets such as rats or gerbils, etc. two would own a pet.
On the business side, the presence of pets remains marginal today and very often concerns start-ups. However, these companions can sometimes prove to be indispensable. This is the case for some people with disabilities. For example, the access of guide or assistance dogs accompanying a worker, whether employee or trainee, to company premises affected to all staff (reception, reception, catering premises, rest areas , passageways, etc.), work premises, meeting or training rooms cannot be prohibited by the employer.
In addition, the Covid-19 crisis has disrupted the organization of work. Hybrid work invites employees to appropriate new workspaces that make it easier to have and care for pets. According to the management, research, studies and statistics department (Dares), 27% of employees practiced teleworking in France in 2021, compared to 4% in 2019. In addition, 8 out of 10 teleworkers wanted to to chase. For its part, the National Association of Human Resources Directors (ANDRH) estimates that hybrid working will soon become the norm and that teleworking will stabilize around two days a week on average by 2025.
Thus, today, it seems legitimate to reconsider the question of the interest and the place of the pet within the framework of work.
A more lively and family business
For a long time now, numerous essentially Anglo-Saxon studies have focused on analyzing the interest of pets in places and issues totally unrelated to business. To our knowledge, our research is thus presented as atypical since in the context of qualitative and quantitative research, we interviewed 133 employees who had a dog at their workplace in order to measure the possible consequences in terms of involvement and stress reduction.
Regarding the first part of the survey, it was a question of analyzing the notion of involvement. Research shows that young employees (under 25) are more involved than other individuals when accompanied by an animal. This attachment is also more marked in women than in men. In addition, research shows that the lower the salary, the greater the attachment to the company is important for the employee working alongside the animal. Thus, in terms of managerial involvement, if the company operates with young employees with low incomes, it can have a stronger involvement of its personnel, and even retain this workforce.
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Regarding the “stress” variable, it turned out that the animal has a strong influence on mood disorders (anxiety, irritability, discouragement) and tension disorders (headaches, nervousness, etc.) . The animal contributes to improving a living environment. The company turns out to be more lively, more familiar. The lowest paid employees, moreover women, seem to provide them more through this environment.
In general, within the company, it appeared to us that the pet does not leave indifferent at any time either the employee or the close or distant entourage of the latter (supplier, customer, patient, etc. . .). It can turn out to be a valuable instrument for reinventing new social relationships. Paradoxically, in certain situations, it helps to humanize human relations.
A presence that cannot be improvised
Finally, it seems important to us to specify that although this exploratory research seems promising to us, the presence of the pet proves to be impossible in certain sectors of activity with strong health or safety constraints.
Moreover, the presence of a pet cannot be improvised and requires real collective reflection for several reasons. First of all, the employer is subject to a safety obligation with regard to the physical and mental health of all of its employees. However, the physical and mental health of some employees can be affected if they have a real phobia or show signs of allergy to an animal.
Moreover, even an educated and sociable pet can be aggressive, bite, bark or transmit certain diseases such as ringworm or solitary worm to humans. Finally, the multiplication of pets in a small space can be complicated to manage. It is therefore up to the employer, with regard to his management power, to accept or refuse the presence of animals on his premises.
If the presence of a pet can have many advantages and can portend shared success, the authorization of its presence therefore undoubtedly requires discussion and the support of a collective.
The original version of this article was published on The conversationa non-profit news site dedicated to sharing ideas between academic experts and the general public.
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