Comfort Pets at Contact Centers? Why Not?
The use of comfort pets in the workplace is becoming mainstream.
Once reserved only for special use in the wake of extraordinary circumstances, such as office shootings and natural disasters, more companies are now finding that animals can also have a positive impact in places where employees regularly face stressful situations on a regular basis.
A contact center would certainly qualify.
Studies have shown that people’s stress levels markedly decrease when they are allowed to bring their pets to work. Just a few minutes petting a dog can make the memory of the last angry caller fade more quickly.
But as with everything else these days, initiating this policy is easier said than done. You can’t have dogs barking while agents in the next cubicle are on a call. You need to be mindful of fellow agents that may be allergic to dog or cat hair. If the contact center floor is always buzzing with activity and people running around, it might make the pet so nervous that it will need it’s own comfort animal to calm down. And no one likes to step in puddles that were not caused by spilled water.
If a pet-friendly policy would work at your contact center, give it a try. Your agents will love it, it will make their shifts go by faster, and they are more likely to stay in a job that allows them to take their furry friend to work.
A second option would be to work with an organization that provides dogs and cats that are trained at being comfort animals. They are calming, affectionate and more relaxed around strangers and in strange surroundings.
Try it once and see how it works. If the day goes well, and agent productivity remains consistent or improves, introduce the concept on a regular weekly or bi-weekly basis. Don’t be surprised if you start looking forward to those days as much as your agents.
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