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Employers More Willing to Adopt Pet-Friendly Policies After COVID-19

  • Survey finds that many employees are concerned about how a pet will fit into their workday after the COVID-19 pandemic
  • A majority of employers are willing to adopt more flexible work arrangements to accommodate pet care
  • Pet-friendly office policies have also been associated with stress reduction and other benefits

Summary by Dirk Langeveld

A majority of workers are concerned about how their pets will fit into a post-pandemic workday, according to a recent survey. Employers have also shown more willingness to consider pet-friendly policies to accommodate employees.

Banfield Pet Hospital, a part of the Mars Veterinary Health family of practices with more than 1,000 locations in the United States, found that one in three respondents (including half of Generation Z respondents) had gotten a new pet during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sixty-three percent of surveyed workers have considered how their pets will fit into a post-pandemic workday. Fifty-seven percent said they would be more comfortable if their pet could come into work with them.

Thirty-eight percent of respondents worried that their pet would experience separation anxiety after they returned to the office. However, a significant share believed that having a pet in the office would have a positive effect on their workday. Thirty-seven percent said they would like to enjoy their pet’s companionship at work, while 28 percent thought having the pet present would help them stay calm and 23 percent believed a pet would help them be more productive.

One in five employees said they would consider rehoming their pet if they couldn’t come into the office with them. Nearly half of Generation Z respondents and one-third of millennials said they’d consider looking for another job if their employer didn’t support pet-friendly policies.

Sixty-eight percent of workers said they would hire a dog walker or other sitter to take care of their pet while at work. Thirty-two percent had consulted with a veterinarian about what to do after they returned to the office.

C-suite executives in the survey showed a strong willingness to allow pet-friendly policies. Half said they would be willing to let employees bring pets into the office, while 59 percent said they would allow more flexibility for workers to care for pets.

Nearly half of these employers said they already had pet-friendly policies in place and that they had yielded benefits. Sixty-seven percent associated the policies with greater socialization among co-workers, while 61 percent said employees were more likely to come into work, 42 percent said the policies led to greater productivity, and 41 percent said employees were more willing to stay later if they could  bring in their pets.

Forty-five percent offered financial support for veterinary care, and 40 percent provided paid time off for veterinary visits. Forty-one percent allowed leave time for people with new pets, while 37 percent offered time off for pet bereavement.

Pets in the office have been associated with a variety of benefits, including a reduction in stress. However, employers should also consider a variety of factors in their policies, including qualifications necessary to allow a pet to come into the workplace, who will be responsible for any damages or injuries caused by a pet, and how to address any grievances.

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