THE DOG CHRONICLE – Your new co-worker may be a lot more friendly and loyal than the last guy. According to HR professionals, post-pandemic policies may soon dictate dogs are “in” at work. Why?
Employers are looking to offer an increased focus on worker well-being and offices are creating policies that provide a growing acceptance of pets, according to human resource experts. These pet-friendly policies are new ways to reduce employee stress and improve workplace productivity.
“I come with a dog,” says Peter Grimes, an advertising agency executive, who notes that even once reluctant cohorts are coming around and embracing his dog Brady. As a result, dogs are becoming as much a part of the workplace as their pet parents.
“Brady has lightened the mood of many of our Zoom calls,” says Grimes. “His expressions have added personality to what can feel like fairly cold calls.”
Although it might be considered poor taste to remind your boss that their long-winded explanation has gone on too long, a dog like Brady does not maintain such sensibilities.
He calls things as he sees them, reports Grimes, who says that unlike his human cohorts, no one holds ill-will for Brady.
“I would consider it an affront to have him excluded from the office environment,” says Grimes. “Particularly given the fact Brady’s become such a big part of our workplace culture.”
Studies show that having dogs in the workplace boost morale, according to a New York Times article that reports dogs in the workplace have even helped some employers attract new clients.
A NO DOG POLICY IS A NO GO
A growing group of employees wouldn’t return to a workplace that would not have their dog,
The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reported in 2017 that only 8% of employers offered this perk. The organization expects that number to climb exponentially in 2021 and beyond.
A whopping 87% of employers surveyed say that being “dog friendly” helps them attract and retain more talent, according to a 2019 study conducted by Mars Petcare.
Given the rise in pandemic-related pet adoption, particularly among Gen Z and Millenials, employers are paying more attention to the value that pet parents place on their furry family members. Nearly 50% of pet parents report that spending more time with pets is the primary benefit of working from home, above increased flexibility 946%), commute-related cost savings (47%) and more time with family (36%).
Given these statistics, many employers are recognizing that the return to the traditional workplace is going to be difficult for many pet parents, who likely will struggle with feelings of guilt or the financial burden of having to find alternative support for their pets during work hours.
Many are dog owners, too.
A FOUR-LEGGED THERAPIST
Dogs bring mental and physical benefits to the workplace, according to Prof. Daniel Mills, a senior investigator on an University of Lincoln study conducted with WALTHAM, which revealed that even non-dog owning colleagues benefit from dogs at work.
Dogs help reduce stress levels, according a York University study cited by Mental Health America, which reports that dogs (and other pets) also create a sense of community, boost morale, reduce isolation and increase productivity. They also help increase trust among coworkers.
Employers like Amazon, Google, Salesforce, Zoosk and HubSpot are among the growing list of pet-friendly companies.
Of course, this may signal the end to phrases like I “worked like a dog today.”
They make work look far too easy.