Evolve Blog

Animals in the Workplace: Crazy Idea or Stroke of Genius?

Posted by Evolve Design Team on Jun 13, 2017 10:32:20 AM


The Japanese office space is no stranger to innovation. The East Asian nation is renowned for technological expertise and unique business solutions, and often finds itself one or two steps ahead of the rest of the world in terms of corporate practice and office fit-out design.

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However, one recent development in some Japanese workplaces has raised more than a few eyebrows, and is less likely to catch on globally than other innovations. This is the news that some companies in Japan have introduced pets - usually cats - into their office as a way to combat stress at work and to increase the effectiveness, efficiency and well-being of their teams.

Ferray, an IT firm based in the Japanese capital of Tokyo has nine employees who are a little different to the firm's bipedal workforce. These are nine cats, who are free to roam around the office space, and who provide stress relief and comfort to the workers there.

While the English-language news outlet, Japan Times, may have brought this activity to a wider global audience, it is in fact nothing new. Oracle Japan's website states that their firm has had an 'office dog' for over two and a half decades, and that the animal acts as a 'greeting and healing ambassador.

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As long as your office design provides a suitable environment for the animals to live in, there is nothing cruel about keeping cats, dogs or other pets in the workplace. In addition to this, the psychology behind the phenomenon is fundamentally sound.

Cats have been shown to alleviate symptoms of stress and anxiety, which are both serious risks in a busy workplace. They have also been shown to trigger the release of the oxytocin hormone; something which can have a marked effect on the well-being of a work team.

Other benefits include boosted immunity (which could translate to significant reductions in sick days and mandatory sick pay), lower blood pressure, better communication with other team members, as well as a range of additional advantages.

So, no, not a crazy idea at all. There are many reasons why this could work in an office space, and there are probably many people here in the UAE who would welcome sharing their working environment with a bunch of furry friends.

But not everyone is so keen on the idea of bringing cats and dogs into the office. It is worth bearing in mind that this practice is not widespread in Japan; it has only been implemented in a handful of firms up and down the country, and not everyone is a huge fan. It is also worth remembering that many people are allergic to dogs and cats, or even harbor phobias towards the animals, and that is before you factor in the significant number of people who simply don't particularly like these creatures.

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The advantages are certainly abundant, but so are the pitfalls. The team here at Evolve Interiors can't see it catching on any time soon, and anyway, there are other ways to reduce stress and strain at work without turning your office into a menagerie.

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Today's Blog Topic: Animals in the Workplace: Crazy Idea or Stroke of Genius?

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Topics: Animals in the Workplace

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