HR Management & Compliance

Is It Time to Implement a Pets-at-Work Policy?

Employers, now’s the time to make sure employees are feeling fulfilled.

The Great Resignation is upon us. Plus, the Financial Independence, Retire Early (F.I.R.E.) movement is gaining momentum. It seems more and more Americans aren’t interested in staying at one company for long.

pets

When your employees are handing in resignations quicker than a cat on a mouse, it may be time to consider implementing a pets-at-work policy.

The team at LiveCareer surveyed 1,000+ employees to find out if they had “pawsitive” feelings about working alongside pets.

Some treats from the study:

  • 52% of respondents said that pet-friendly benefits and policies are important when job hunting.
  • 49% said that a pet-friendly work environment could convince them to take a job offer.
  • 41% said that pets in the workplace would improve their sense of satisfaction with their job.

So, pet policies were an attractive perk for participants in the study, but did those who’d actually worked with pets find it pleasing?

Experiences with Workplace Pets

The survey respondents shared their experiences working with pets.

“I used to take my 2 dogs to my old workplace. I loved it and so did my dogs. The other employees got very attached to the dogs. It was great!”

“I loved having my cat around when I was working. Although I work from home, I felt he was safe inside with me, and just loved having him around in general. Although from time to time, he’d be naughty and act up, and I’d be temporarily distracted.”

  • Nearly 8 out of 10 respondents who’d worked with a pet said it was positive.

So, overall, the employees who had actually worked with Fido and Fluffy felt that workplace pets were beneficial.

And which pet was hands (or paws) down the most popular workplace pet?

Out of those who’d worked with a pet on-site, 84% had worked with a canine and 50% a feline.

For remote workers, 77% had a dog by their side, and 55% had a cat.

(Some respondents had worked with both canines and felines.)

The employees surveyed had valuable perceptions of the benefits and drawbacks of workplace pets.

Top Workplace Pet Pluses and Minuses

The employees were asked what they deemed the best benefits from having four-legged friends at work.

The best perks?

  • 33%—a relaxed environment
  • 28%—less workplace stress
  • 18%—improvement in work/life balance
  • 16%—less guilt about leaving a pet at home
  • 4%—improvement in mental health

Aside from all this warm-n-fuzzy (or furry) stuff, the respondents also got real with what they considered the biggest pitfalls of animals at work:

  • 35%—allergic reactions
  • 31%—too distracting
  • 20%—unsanitary
  • 8%—too smelly
  • 6%—too dangerous

So, it stands to reason that those in the study were keen on workplace pet policies.

Workplaces with Pet Policies Preferred

A striking 51% said that pet-friendly benefits and policies were taken into consideration when searching for work. 

And not only that:

Nearly half agreed that having pets in the workplace would make them more likely to recommend an employer.

And 41% said that pets in the office could contribute to their sense of satisfaction with their job.

Their upbeat opinions also extended to a special workplace benefit. Some employers allow their employees to take time off to bond with a new pet—a benefit known as “pawternity leave.”

  • A striking 78% said they’d like pawternity leave to be implemented at their workplace.

In Conclusion

Workplace pets are a sought-after benefit, and employers should consider whether it’s a good fit for their workplace.

If having furry friends nearby at work makes your talent feel more relaxed and decreases stress, that’s a win-win for the employer and employees. Employee satisfaction is imperative to avoiding the pileup of resignation notices and having to recruit and train new employees.

The bottom line: Those in the workplace pet study gave an opposable thumbs up to workplace pets and employers that offer pet policies.

Jen Pieniazek, a Bronx native, is a career expert at LiveCareer. She enjoys writing career pieces that inspire readers to make positive changes. With a background in educational management and teaching, Pieniazek knows that greater knowledge means making better decisions, and she wants to provide that knowledge to her readers. Follow her on LinkedIn.