Young businessman playing with dog in office

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Companies Mull Pet-Friendly Office Policies to Entice Workers Back

April 2, 2021

Pets have become trusted allies—and coworkers of sorts—to a growing number of remote workers during the pandemic. Now companies who are welcoming employees back to the office are realizing they may also need to invite workers’ furry friends. And that means building operators may need to ease restrictions to allow for more pet-friendly workspaces.

Fifty percent of C-suite executives say they are considering allowing employees to bring their pets to work when they return to the office, according to a survey from Canfield Pet Hospital and OnePoll. Fifty-nine percent of executives say they would allow “more flexibility” for employees to take care of their pets during the workday.

Such a policy may help entice more employees to return to the office after working from home for an extended period. Sixty-three percent of pet owners report anxiety over how their pets will cope with their post-pandemic work routine, according to a separate survey from Banfield Pet Hospital and OnePoll.

Executives also express an understanding and tolerance for pets, with 75% percent saying that being a pet owner has made them a better, more compassionate business leader. Other findings include:

  • Among executives who are crafting a specific pet policy in the workplace, 59% say their plans were motivated by employee requests.
  • Fifty-eight percent say they understand that staff members have gotten used to being around their pets all day.
  • Forty-two percent say a pet perk at work would entice employees to return to the office.

Research also has shown that dogs at work can make employees more collaborative and less stressed, reports. “We’ve seen the human-animal bond only get stronger during the pandemic, and it’s no surprise that owners are thinking about how they can best be there for their pets when they start to spend more time outside of home,” says Brian Garish, president of Banfield Pet Hospital. “We believe we can advance human health through pet health, elevating societal well-being.”

Executives who already had a pet-friendly workplace policy before the pandemic say it prompted an increase in employee socializing, encouraged more employees to come to work, effected an uptick in employee productivity, and made employees more willing to stay at work later. However, those suffering from pet allergies or who do not have a fondness for pets may not be as happy about pet-friendly policies at work.