The pandemic has only strengthened the importance of the human-animal bond in people’s lives as millions of people welcomed new pets into their families and turned to their pets for comfort and support. In facta recent survey of pet owners found that 81 percent said they felt even closer to their pets as a result of the pandemic.
Now,as pandemic-related restrictions ease, people are moving to a ‘new normal’, which means a return to the office for many employees. What does this mean for our pets who have been our constant companions? According to one survey, three in four working pet owners are concerned about leaving pets when they return to the workplace.
June 21st-25th is Take Your Pet to Work Week, the perfect time to make the case for more pet-friendly workplaces and workplace policies aimed at meeting the needs of pet owning employees.
A strong case can be made that companies will benefit from pet-friendly policies. Research has found that 90 percent of employees in pet-friendly workplaces feel highly connected to their company’s mission; fully engaged with their work; and willing to recommend their employer to others, while fewer than 65 percent of employees in non-pet-friendly workplaces made the same claim.
The research also found that more than three times as many employees at pet-friendly workplaces report a positive working relationship with their boss or co-workers.significantly more than those in non-pet-friendly environments.
Even if bringing pets into the workplace is not an option, employers can demonstrate that they care about the human-animal bond by providing benefits that help pet owners take good care of their pets. For example, employers can consider offering pet health insurance, time off to care for a new or sick pet, pet sitting services or allowing employees to work from home to take care of pets.
Great companies and organizations are already leading the charge with pet-friendly policies. According to a survey of 500 C-suite executives, 72 percent expect more workplaces will be pet-friendly after the pandemic, and 59 percent personally plan to allow more flexibility for employees wanting to stay remote with their pets.
The good news is that there are great resources and helpful information available on how to safely and effectively welcome pets at work or institute pet-friendly policies.
The pandemic has been a challenging time for so many people. Now more than ever, employers need to demonstrate compassion and care to boost morale and support the mental health of employees. Embracing the human-animal bond by helping people care for and spend more time with their beloved pets is an easy, effective way to do just that.
To learn more about the health benefits of the human-animal bond, please visit HABRI.org.