As many people adjusted to the extended work-from-home conditions over the last year, our four-legged friends served as our ever-present companions, favorite new colleagues, and a source of happiness during a time of uncertainty. In fact, new research from Purina found that 76% of pet owners working from home report they’ve been happier doing so with their pet by their side. Yet, many are hesitant about the transition back to the workplace without their pets, with 73% expressing concern about how their pets will react to their sudden absence. With office reentry plans top-of-mind for many employers, employee safety and mental health should be at the center of all return-to-office tactics – and those plans should include pets.
Purina, a champion for pet-friendly workplaces, and a pet-friendly employer for more than 20 years, has seen first-hand the benefits of welcoming pets to the office, including improved mental well-being, employee retention and recruiting, and overall increased happiness and productivity. According to the Purina study, working from home has primed employers and employees for a world where pets are a welcomed addition to the workplace moving forward.
- When considering a new career opportunity, 72% of pet owners working from home would accept a job offer from a pet-friendly employer over a non-pet friendly employer, assuming salary and all other benefits are equal.
- In the areas of company culture and office morale, 48% of pet owners working from home whose company doesn’t have a pet-friendly office think office morale would improve if their office was pet-friendly.
- Even executive leaders are open to the idea, with 72% of C-suite executives saying the approval of a pet policy would either lead to or already has increased socializing in the workplace, and 56% said it would lead to or has resulted in increased productivity.
“Now is the time to seriously consider the role that pets have had and will continue to have in the lives of employees,” said Nina Leigh Krueger, CEO and President of Purina. “Introducing pets into the workplace creates a cultural shift that brings people together, offers stress relief and fun, and increases productivity. Incorporating a pet-friendly office policy now also will help the pets who have supported us throughout this time adjust to a new reality.”
Purina offers the following recommendations for employees and employers interested in exploring a pet-friendly workplace:
- Learn the Benefits – Do your research to arm yourself with the positive impact pets have on the workplace as well as the benefits to pets that may suffer from separation anxiety.
- Find Examples – Help employees and management by laying out a list of other like-minded companies in your area that have successfully integrated pets in the workplace.
- Test it Out – Suggest a “Bring Your Pet to Work Day” as a test run to see how employees and visiting pets interact.
- Make the Pledge – Gather signatures in favor of the policy using Purina’s Pets at Work pledge template.
- Show you’re serious – Establish guidelines and make it official by using an authorization and release form for those wishing to bring their pets to the office.
Purina has many additional resources for companies that are interested in making this transition, including a Pets at Work Starter Kit and an employer toolkit to help guide companies and their employees toward a better, more integrated workplace for our furry friends.