Can affectionate cats increase your productivity? While reading the Washington Post a few days ago, I ran across an article that said another cat cafe was going to open in the Washington D.C. Metro area. My curiosity got the better of me, and I began searching for more articles about cat cafés, and to my surprise, it is a growing trend. Cat cafés are popping up in larger cities around the world like Tokyo, London, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego and more. According to Buzzsumo.com, the most shared article after typing in the keyword productivity, is a company who filled their offices with cats in Tokyo.
Stress levels have been lowered, and communication has increased in the workplace since the introduction of 9 cats. Despite some of the feline mischief, employees are happy with their new tenants. The internet solutions company also offers a cat bonus for anyone who adopts a cat. Cat cafés have been around for the last 20-25 years, mostly in Asia, but in the last year have been popping up in the United States. New York will be launching its second café sometime this month where patrons can pay an entry fee, have a beverage, and enjoy the company of a feline friend. Cat cafés might sound silly to some, but it is an opportunity for those who cannot own a pet, too. These cafés allow individuals to enjoy the affection of an animal, and the animal is also shown love from a person, instead of spending their days in a shelter.
Benefits of Pets in the Work Place
So, what does this have to do with productivity? A study by Central Michigan University found that having a dog as a companion in the workplace resulted in the employee being ranked higher on evaluations. But, a survey by American Pet Products Association found that only 17% of U.S. Companies permit pets at work, and 23% of Americans feel they should have their companions with them.
Here are just some of the benefits that employees experience by allowing pets in the workplace:
- Makes people happier
- Reduces stress
- Leads to a more creative environment
- Decreases absenteeism
- Coworkers cooperate better
- More productive environment
- Reduced smoking
- Able to work longer hours
There is not much research on this topic, and I am sure in the next few years we will start to see more empirical studies. But, I do know that animals have been used in physical therapy for many years in the medical field. You also have to wonder why the zoo is such an attractive place that brings happiness to everyone who goes. Being around cats and other animals more often could be just the thing that your productivity and happiness levels need. Change things up, and see what a difference it can make in your life.
Adam Smith says
This is one of my favorite posts of yours, Kirby. Because it is so different, it really made me think, so thank you for that. My wife is allergic to cats, so of course this wouldn’t work for her, but it’s interesting with the research and more cat cafés popping up.
Kirby Ingles says
Thought something different would be a good change of pace. It is a interesting topic and trend. New allergies would come into play which may be why some companies do not allow pets.
Erik Tyler says
I wonder if the key is not “cats” but “affectionate cats.” The word “affectionate” implies that the cats roam around and unpredictably nuzzle into people’s legs, hop up on a desk, etc. And while I certainly believe in the healing effects of therapeutic animals, I do wonder if, in the workplace, instituting a similar human system would work equally well. For instance, what if employees got randomly-selected company emails every 15 minutes (a different person every 15 minutes) that told them to report to the “salon”; and in that salon, they could either get a 10-minute chair massage or scalp whisk. This kind of unpredictable element along with contact might work from any number of angles to produce similar results to the affectionate cats. It’s the like concept of breaks that you talk about often, Kirby, only this break is unpredictable and has the element of contact / stimulation.
Kirby Ingles says
I think it’s the calming effects of an animal that is the key here. Even though there is some mischief like chewing on papers and cords from time to time, it has gone over well. Companies like Apple and Google have made a lot of amenities for employees to increase productivity and creativity, but I don’t think there is anything as calming and relaxing as an animal. Affectionate is probably the key word here because of the reciprocal relationship. There is something about the love of an animal that I don’t think a massage could replace.