I was scrolling through TikTok the other day when I found a video. It was highlighting pet-friendly workplaces. There were dogs everywhere. It looked like my idea of heaven.
When we first got our dog in 2019, we were always anxious about leaving her home alone. We had relatives or a dog walker visit her, but it wasn’t the same as us being there.
Three-quarters of pet owners also feel anxious going to work without their pets, so we’re far from alone there.
Now that we both work from home, it allows us to sit with her when she’s sick, we can monitor her health issues better, and we can take her for a walk if we’re feeling stressed and need a break to disconnect.
(She’s actually sitting beside me while I write this, happily watching the TV—one of her favorite hobbies.)
Two-thirds of US households now own a pet. And a third of millennials own at least one. So by joining the ranks of pet-friendly workplaces, you can increase your talent pool.
There are plenty of other pros and cons that come with pet-friendly workplaces. Let’s take a look at what they are:
So, what are the benefits of pet-friendly workplaces?
There’s no denying it—animals put smiles on faces. Especially during a long or stressful day.
Which makes sense, because studies have shown that hugging a pet can significantly reduce our stress levels.
Plus, if there are dogs around, those dogs will need to go out. This means employees can’t be glued to their desks for hours on end. Instead, they get some fresh air and movement in, both of which are great for productivity and stress relief.
Greater employee retention
Almost half of dog owners would find it harder to leave their job if the company allowed them to bring their dog to work. Which makes sense when you consider how hard it is to find pet-friendly workplaces.
Pets are great conversation starters between people who wouldn’t normally talk. 51% of people find that pets increase socialization in the workplace.
And getting colleagues talking can lead to increased networking opportunities and even improved confidence.
Save on costs
Pet-friendly workplaces add a huge amount of value for any business looking to attract new employees. With it being so rare to find pet-friendly workplaces, it may streamline your hiring process, and therefore cut down on costs.
And, since you’ll experience greater retention, it can save you money that way, too.
And 37% of Gen Z dog owners would consider taking a pay cut to work somewhere that’s more pet-friendly. 64% would change jobs, or even reduce their hours, to spend more time with their pets.
When pet parents can take their pets to work, it also works out cheaper for them because they don’t have to pay for a dog walker or daycare, which can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars per month—or even per week.
So, pet-friendly workplaces save on costs for everyone.
While pet-friendly workplaces come with huge benefits, like everything, there are downsides to having pets in the workplace, too:
Not every pet behaves well
Some pets push boundaries. Some might beg for food, or trawl the carpet for crumbs, while others may be more disruptive by going to the bathroom in the office or making noise during meetings.
One solution to this is to bring in a trainer to work with pets and their owners. It’s a great bonding opportunity for pet and owner, as well as between employees who may work in different departments but have the common ground of being pet parents.
Some employees may be allergic to pets, which can make having them in the workplace a pretty serious issue.
Allergies can range from mild irritation to people not being able to breathe, so you have to be sure to make accommodations.
It may distract employees
Having animals everywhere can be distracting, particularly if they’re poorly behaved or just want a piece of someone’s lunch.
But, at the end of the day, employees know they’re there to work.
And with the right training, exercise, and nutrition, animals will understand that it’s work time. They’ll learn to sit quietly with their owner while they get some work done.
Some animals won’t get along
If you have a workplace that’s welcoming to dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, ferrets, or any other type of animal, you risk conflicts.
As well as the obvious, such as dogs chasing cats, you can have issues with cats or terriers following their instincts and trying to catch smaller animals, which can cause issues between not just the animals, but colleagues, too.
The best solution to this is to ask employees which animals they have, and if they’d like to bring them to work. That way, you get a clear idea of who’s interested and can look for solutions.
For example, if you have an even split between dog and cat owners, could they bring dogs in on some days and cats on others, or dogs for one week and cats another? Or have one section of the office for dogs, and another for cats?
Don’t underestimate the power of asking employees for their thoughts and solutions, either. They may come up with something you hadn’t considered.
Pet-friendly workplaces aren’t for every business, but they can come with huge benefits for talent attraction and retention. And maybe even your workplace productivity, thanks to the boost it provides to employee wellbeing. You never know—joining other pet-friendly workplaces could be exactly what your employer brand needs.
Want to ensure pet parents know what options are available to them and get quickly connected to fellow animal lovers? Workrowd has the tools you need.
Our one-stop shop enables you to share employee information, groups, programs, and events through one central hub. Team members can quickly personalize their experience, and provide ongoing feedback so you always know what’s getting results.