HR Strange But True

Is It OK for Workplaces to Favor One Species over Another?

A new survey has uncovered what could be viewed by some as a discriminatory practice where one species is favored over another in the workplace. No, we are not referring to humans over Vulcans or Klingons. We are talking canis familiaris over felis catus!

In its first ever “Pet-Friendly Workplace PAWrometer” survey, Banfield Pet Hospitals hoped the survey of over 1,000 employees and 200 Human Resources decision makers (HRDMs) across America to measure the impact of pet-friendly workplaces would uncover hard data on the positive impact pet-friendly policies had on workplaces. And it did.

The survey report says the impacts of a pet-friendly office on employee morale and workplace dynamics are largely seen as positive, with 7 out of 10 employees and HRDMs concurring, even if their workplaces do not currently allow pets.

Both employees and HRDMs overwhelmingly agree that allowing pets in the workplace has improved several factors, including reduced stress, greater work/life balance, increased productivity and morale, and decreased guilt over leaving pets at home, the report says.

However, the PAWrometer also uncovered that a large number of workplace pet policies are somewhat discriminatory—overwhelmingly favoring dogs over cats!

According to the survey report, 95% of workers and HR staffers said that dogs were allowed under their pet-friendly policy (wonder what creatures the other 5% allow).

But the report states that “cats are less acceptable in pet-friendly offices, with only 46% of employees and 65% of HRDMs saying they are allowed” at work.

Cats don’t need to be walked and can come with their own carry-in restrooms, so one might think this makes them the more favorable breed. Also, there are more cats kept as pets in the United States. On the other hand, more people own dogs than cats (the discrepancy caused by more multiple-cat owners than multiple-dog owners).

Another rather disconcerting result from the survey is that the majority of workplaces allowing pets do not have an official pet-friendly workplace policy!

The good news is that at companies that do allow pets, 95% of HRDMs believe that since their pet-friendly policy is working so well, employees should be allowed to continue bringing pets to their workplace.