As employers work on building out their return to office plans, consider adding another incentive to help invite your workers back: pet-friendly benefits.
A recent April study from Fi, a New York-based company that makes smart dog collars, shows that 71 percent of dog owners in the U.S. are more likely to pursue remote roles over in-office roles so that they can take care of and spend time with their pets. The study surveyed 1,005 U.S. dog owners who are either already back in the office or will return to the office sometime later this year.
Forty-four percent of pet owners would not opt to take a new role if they couldn’t bring their dog into the office, according to the survey. And a third of dog owners would even change jobs if they could not bring their dog to the office.
The results are worth noting, particularly for employers that are struggling to find workers amid the Great Resignation. But they’re not all that surprising, says Jonathan Bensamoun, founder and CEO at Fi. “Millennials recently overtook Boomers as the largest pet-owning group, with estimates that over 50 percent have dogs. Forty-four percent of Millennials consider their pets to be ‘starter children,'” he adds.
A majority of dog owners further shared that they’d feel anxious about leaving their furry friends at home as they head back to the office. It can be tough, especially for those who became new pet owners during the pandemic and have grown used to being around their pets 24/7. Separation anxiety is fairly common in dogs as well. Plus, it can be difficult, or costly, to factor in dog walking during the workday.
That said, there is an opportunity for employers to help out pet parents in their workforce.
According to the Fi study, dog owners said they would go into the office three times per week if they were allowed to bring their dogs to work. But it could be tricky to implement such a policy if, say, other co-workers in the office are allergic to pets. Some workplaces opt for on-site doggy daycares instead.
Pet-friendly spaces are a perk more valued by younger generations: 50 percent of Gen Z’ers surveyed selected dogs in the office as a top perk they look at when taking on a new role, compared to 35 percent of Millennials and 18 percent of Baby Boomers who reported the same, according to the study.
Fi’s Bensamoun suggests that employers can also support pet parents by helping cover costs for dog food and dog boarding when workers go on vacation. Offering pet insurance as part of a benefits package is increasingly common, too, since many consider dogs as members of the family, notes Bensamoun.