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Pet-friendly policies could enhance employee relations

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Employers with pet-friendly policies could be at an advantage in retaining workers and luring them back to the office, according to a recent survey.

Some 86% of employees who were surveyed said they would look forward to working more if they could bring their dog to work daily. Aside from the deskside companionship, these pet parents estimate they would save $7,000 annually ($138 weekly) from no longer needing to use doggy daycare or dog walkers.

They survey, conducted by Barkbus, a luxury mobile dog grooming service, uncovered several positive impacts of a pet-friendly office. The plusses included higher job satisfaction, better mental health, increased productivity, less company turnover, and lower stress levels. Half the respondents said they made new friends at work from bringing their pets to their workplace.

Employees reported 71% of their employers made changes to their policies within the past year. In contrast, when employers were asked about pet-friendly policies, 98% indicated they had not changed their pet policies. Only 15% of employers said they allowed their workers to bring their pups to work.

Workers who were asked to identify their most desired pet policies, said allowing dogs at work any time, with 36% having this benefit at the top of their list. Allowing dogs on certain days of the week was the second-most sought-after benefit. One-third (33%) said having an outdoor space for pets was a desired perk. Also popular, with 31% of employees listing them as a desired policy, were an indoor gated area for pets and the inclusion of pet insurance in a benefits package.

Other pet-friendly policies workers said they’d like included extra breaks to go walk or feed their dog at home, a stipend for doggy day care, pet bereavement leave, a stipend for dog walking service, and a private office for employees with pets.

About one-fourth (25%) of employees who responded to the survey listed a stipend for adoption fees, keeping floors or low areas safe for dogs, “pawternity” leave for a sick pet, scheduled animal therapy days, paid pet-friendly volunteer opportunities, and “pawternity” leave for a new pet.

Barkbus also examined search during the past year. By a wide margin, “workplace pet policy templates” surged, jumping 400%. Also trending upwards were searches for “dog friendly workspaces near me” (up 267%) and “pet friendly office chair” (up 200%).

Employers were asked about pet-friendly benefits they would be willing to offer. Of those surveyed, only 11% said they were unwilling to offer pet-friendly perks.

For employers, pet insurance topped list of benefits, with 40% saying they were inclined to offer it. Pet bereavement leave came in second with 35% of employers saying they were receptive to offering it. Other “top five” options on the employer list were an outdoor gated area for pets, allowing dogs in the workplace on certain days of the week, and offering “pawternity” leave for a sick pet. Only 18% said they would be willing to allow dogs onsite any time. Least popular was “pawternity” leave for a new pet, with only 12% of employers saying they were willing to offer that benefit.

Barkbus found that larger companies were the most likely to offer more work flexibility for pet parents.

Employers believe having canine companions at the office would improve job satisfaction, stress levels, and mental health, but they also think it might reduce productivity.

To assess perceptions about pets in the workplace, Barkbus surveyed 1,057 individuals, of which 804 were employees and 253 were employers.

The doorstep dog salon started in 2017 and now offers mobile grooming services in the Los Angeles, Orange County, and San Diego areas, and said it has plans for national expansion.

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