Sunday Tasmanian column by Anne Boxhall, April 3, 2016
Meet mother and son Beans and Maple, the face of foster care in the workplace. These two are promoting the benefits of giving rescue pets a temporary home in the office while they wait to be adopted into a domestic household. Companies are being encouraged to give foster animals a helping hand and simultaneously boost staff morale.
The program is being championed by Pet Rescue, an organisation providing on-line exposure for animals in the care of shelters and rescue groups across Australia. Pet Rescue spokesperson John Bishop says fostering in the workplace is a great way to develop and strengthen bonds between colleagues, get everyone engaged in office life, and bring some super stress busting happiness into the office environment.
Studies suggest that a pet friendly workplace decreases stress, improves morale and productivity, reduces absenteeism and increases staff retention rates. At the same time, individual staff members have the opportunity to really get to know the rescue pets and ultimately help find them a new permanent home. The right animal in the right workplace connects people to people and people to animals.
It fits perfectly with a new push to incorporate natural elements into busy human lives. Psychologists and sociologists are researching our need to connect with nature and the impacts of it on our thinking, creativity, social skills and mental health. Health researchers are looking at how much more productive we might be if plants and animals are incorporated in the office, along with fresh air and outside views of something natural rather than man-made.
Workplace foster could work for businesses, staff, rescue pets, shelters, rescue groups and even researchers. For more on workplace foster care visit www.petrescue.com.au/library