Friday Funny: The Verdict’s In On Pets At Work

pets at work
(Source: PRNewsFoto/Banfield Pet Hospital)

It’s one of the great debates of our time: Do pets at work have a positive impact, or are they just furry distractions?

Finally, we have an answer.

Banfield Pet Hospital® recently released its first ever Pet-Friendly Workplace PAWrometer™ survey, revealing the impact pet-friendly workplaces have on employees and human resources decision makers (HR DM) alike. The survey, the first ever to measure both employee and HR DM sentiment, was developed to explore the prevalence, impact, and perceptions of pet-friendly workplaces as relates to employees and company culture. The survey reflects the opinions of 1,006 employees and 200 HR DM from a wide range of U.S. companies and industries.

So, What’s The Verdict?

The vast majority of responses indicate that pet-friendly workplaces have a positive impact (employees: 70 percent; HR DM: 77 percent); boost morale (employees: 88 percent; HR DM: 91 percent); and contribute to talent retention and loyalty (employees: 82 percent; HR DM: 91 percent). In addition, 64 percent of HR DM at pet-friendly companies report that candidates inquire about pet policies, indicating pet-friendly workplaces provide employers with a competitive edge in the recruitment process.

While more than one in five employees and HR DM report that their employers allow them to bring pets to the office, half of all pet-friendly workplaces do not a have a formal pet policy; of these, roughly half of respondents believe it would be difficult to implement a pet-friendly policy. That said, three-quarters of HR DM that have implemented such a policy reported the implementation process was not difficult.

“At Banfield, we know first-hand the important role pets play in our lives. Our headquarters has always been pet-friendly and we are proud to be part of the Mars Petcare family, which also prioritizes pet-friendly workplaces,” said Tami Majer, senior vice president, people and organization for Banfield Pet Hospital. “We introduced the PAWrometer™ to help close the research gap on the impact of pet-friendly workplace policies from an employee and HR decision maker standpoint, and we hope these findings will broaden the conversation around the value of having pets at work.”

The survey uncovered overwhelming agreement among employees and HR DM regarding the benefits of allowing pets in the workplace, including:

  • Reduced stress (employees: 85 percent; HR DM: 92 percent)
  • Improved workplace relationships (employees: 79 percent; HR DM: 95 percent)
  • Greater work-life balance (employees: 85 percent; HR decision makers: 91 percent)
  • Increased productivity (employees: 67 percent; HR DM: 81 percent)
  • Decreased guilt over leaving pets at home (employees: 86 percent; HR DM: 92 percent).

“It is clear that there is a growing desire among employees and HR decision makers to allow pets at work, and now we can demonstrate the positive impact on a company and its workforce,” said Majer. “We truly hope this research will expand the discussion around pets at work by adding further momentum to the movement and showcasing the need for company policies that respect both pets and employees.”

It’s Not All Purrfect

Amid the overwhelmingly positive sentiment from both employees and HR DM, some respondents expressed uncertainty around impacts on the workplace. While a majority of HR DM at non-pet-friendly companies agree that a pet-friendly policy would benefit their company, some voiced hesitation about implementing a policy. Approximately half cited concerns about potential distractions and complaints from employees and seven in 10 reported concern about health- or allergy-related issues.

However, at companies that do allow pets, 95 percent of HR DM believe their pet-friendly policy is working and that employees should be allowed to continue bringing pets to their workplace.

“We understand why some employers may feel uncertain about having pets in the workplace, but our research shows these apprehensions may very well be outweighed by the positives,” said Majer. “In most cases, when employers decide to allow pets at work, it has a tremendously positive effect on employees, morale, productivity, retention and recruitment.”

More information and a full executive summary on the Banfield Pet-Friendly Workplace PAWrometer™ is available here.