The remote work trend has caused a lot of people to become more attached to their pets as they spend more time with their furry companions. Now, some companies are trying to entice their staff back to the office by making accommodations for pet-friendly work spaces.
A recent survey from Canfield Pet Hospital and OnePoll found that just over 50% of C-suite executives say they are considering allowing their staff to bring their pets to the office with them when they can finally return to work physically. And another 59% of execs said they would allow more flexibility for their workers to take care of their pets during working hours.
The thinking is that these kinds of pet-friendly policies will help to entice workers, who may have become enamored with working at home, to come back to the office once they have been vaccinated. Pet-friendly policies may also be necessary in some cases, as another study by Banfield Pet Hospital and OnePoll reported that 63% of people have concerns over how their pets will cope once they’re no longer spending so much time at home with them.
The survey Canfield Pet Hospital findings suggest employees won’t need to worry though, as 75% of company executives that are also animal lovers say that owning a pet has made them better and more compassionate business leaders.
Of those executives who say they are currently crafting pet-friendly policies, 59% said they were doing so due to employee requests. Those executives said they understand that many employees may have gotten used to having their pets around all day, and that many may have bought their first pets to help them cope with the isolation of working at home.
There could be some productivity-related benefits to having animals in the workplace too. Brian Garish, president of Banfield Pet Hospital, told Inc.com that research has shown that dogs at work can help to improve collaboration and reduce stress in the workplace.
“We’ve seen the human-animal bond only get stronger during the pandemic, and it’s no surprise that owners are thinking about how they can best be there for their pets when they start to spend more time outside of home,” Garish told Inc.com. “We believe we can advance human health through pet health, elevating societal well-being.”
The research is backed by the experiences of executives whose companies already had pet-friendly work environments before the pandemic. Many of them say they believe that having pets around led to an increase in employee’s socializing and that it encourage more people to come to work, leading to an uptick in productivity. Furthermore, having their furry companions around encourages some employees to stay at work later.
The only downside is that workers who do not have a fondness for pets or suffer from allergies may not appreciate a pet-friendly policy at work, so executives will need to take their concerns into consideration too.