To coincide with Take Your Dog to Work Day on Friday, June 21, Trupanion launched a survey to see how people really felt about pets in the workplace. Is a pet-friendly workplace (like Trupanion, for example, which encourages all 250 employees to bring their dogs and cats to work) really something pet owners are looking for, or is that a perception we have because of our environment? This is what we found out:
Of the 134 respondents, 97% owned at least one pet and 66% worked in an office that was not currently pet-friendly. But a whopping 86% said they think more highly of a company if it is a pet-friendly company and 43% said a pet-friendly workplace is a factor in choosing where they would like to work.
“I would take a pay cut to leave my current employer of 10 years to go and work for a pet friendly company,” said one respondent. “My dog is my best friend and being able to spend all day with my dog would be extremely valuable to me.”
69% of respondents noted that the best benefits of having their pet at work are stress relief, socialization for the pet, and simply having their pet by their side all day. 37% said that the daily exercise they get from their pets was another benefit.
“I find that our clients come in with a smile as they are greeted at the door by my dog and no one seems to leave without stopping to give him tummy rubs on the way out,” said one respondent. “It’s great for morale too.”
While the majority of respondents highly praised pets in the workplace, there was a selection of people who weren’t so supportive. Respondents noted that the distraction pets present in the workplace was the biggest drawback, followed by the potential for allergies suffered by co-workers.
“As a pet owner who loves her pet and all the pets I get to meet, I find it extremely disrespectful and inappropriate for us to forget that some people are uncomfortable around our pets or have allergies to them,” noted one respondent. “The workplace is not a place for our pets to be. I love sharing my rabbit with others, but I also want to respect their feelings and needs as well.”
This is a valid concern, and one we address here at the Trupanion office in our Pet Policy. It’s expected that all employees will respect co-workers and talk constructively through any issues that come up. An escalation process is also in place to handle incidents that cannot be resolved.
It may seem unbelievable, but we do have employees with pet allergies in our office, and we respect them and make accommodations that help them manage their symptoms. But we also know that we may be discouraging talent from joining our team because of our environment. We take that risk, because we see the incredible benefit pets bring – including high employee satisfaction and retention, increased company morale, and less overall stress.