How Pet Friendly Workplaces Boost Employee Satisfaction Well Being
  • Benefits Strategy

The Com-pet-itive Edge: How Pet-Friendly Workplaces Boost Employee Satisfaction and Well-Being

If you have a pet – be it a dog, a cat, a frog or a rat – you know there's few things that put you at ease more than spending time with your animal companion. After a hard day of work, or just a hard day in general, their presence just always seems to make things better.

So as people increasingly look to their employer to help safeguard their total well-being, smart companies would do well to keep the power of pets in mind and consider how they can create pet-friendly workplaces for employees.

The Benefits of a Pet-Friendly Workplace

There hasn't been a ton of research done on the impact of pet-friendly workplaces, but what is out there points to benefits in several key areas.

Stress Management

A study from Virginia Commonwealth University highlighted how the presence of pets in the workplace acts as a significant stress reducer not only for their owners but also for co-workers, who reported taking great enjoyment from interacting with the pets.1

Problem-Solving

The Human Animal Bond Research Institute reported improved cohesion, cooperation and trust among groups in which a dog was present.2

Physical & Mental Health

According to the Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri, pet companionship is positively linked to weight loss, treating veterans with PTSD and relieving anxiety in people with autism.3

Pet-Friendliness as Competitive Advantage

With the above benefits in mind, there's much for pet-friendly companies to gain in terms of their employer of choice aspirations.

In a recent study conducted by Nationwide, which offers pet insurance products through Benefitfocus BenefitsPlace™, these gains are clearly articulated.4

Employee Engagement

The study reports that 91 percent of employees who work for a pet-friendly company feel engaged with their work, versus 65 percent who work in non-pet-friendly workplaces.

Attraction & Retention

The study reports that 88 percent of employees who work for a pet-friendly company would recommend their place of employment to others, versus 51 percent who work in non-pet-friendly workplaces.

Additionally, 88 percent of employees who work for a pet-friendly company plan to stay with the company for the next 12 months, versus 73 percent who work in non-pet-friendly workplaces.

Work Relationships

The study reports that 53 percent of employees who work for a pet-friendly company say they have a positive working relationship with their co-workers, versus 19 percent who work in non-pet friendly workplaces.

Presenteeism

The study reports that 85 percent of employees who work for a pet-friendly company say they rarely miss a day of work for well-being or recuperation, versus 77 percent who work in non-pet friendly workplaces.

Overall, pet-friendly workplaces help companies cultivate a more positive employee experience, translating to higher levels of satisfaction and productivity. But what is a pet-friendly workplace, exactly, and how do you create one?

Creating a Pet-Friendly Workplace

The Nationwide study referenced above defines a pet-friendly workplace as one that allows pets in the workplace and/or offers a pet-friendly employee benefit.

Allowing pets in the workplace can be a logistical challenge, starting with getting consent and buy-in across the organization. As hard as it is for die-hard animal lovers to understand, not everyone wants pets in their place of work, one reason being allergies. That's why it's a good idea to have designated areas where pets can and cannot go. Establishing a clear set of rules and expectations, from vaccination requirements to leash policies, will help ensure that everyone – including the fur-babies – is safe and comfortable.

If it's not feasible to allow pets in your workplace, you can still support your pet-owning employees with a variety of pet-oriented benefits, perks and activities. Here are just a few examples of what you can do:

  • Sponsor a company-wide pet photo/costume contest with pet-related prizes
  • Host a company picnic or happy hour at a dog park and invite employees to bring their pets 
  • Organize a volunteer program and/or match donations for an animal-focused charity
  • Provide paid "pawternity" leave for new pet owners, and bereavement leave for those laying a beloved pet to rest 
  • Offer group pet insurance as a voluntary benefit from companies like Nationwide, Pet Benefit Solutions and Pets Best

Pet-friendly policies and programs represent additional opportunities for companies to create a workplace that supports employees' total well-being. Employers who take advantage of these opportunities will not only see greater satisfaction and productivity among their existing employees, but also increase their ability to attract top talent.

Learn more about how you can add leading pet insurance products to your benefits offering with administrative ease. Request a consultation with one of our advisors today!

 

1. VCU News: Benefits of taking Fido to work may not be far 'fetched'

2. HABRI Workplace Wellness Research

3. Research Center for Human-Animal Interaction

4. Nationwide: Pet-friendly companies are more likely to attract, engage and retain employees