With the popularity of youtube animal videos and memes like grumpy cat, it’s safe to say animals and pets are a big part of the millennial’s lives. A Wakefield study showed the average millennial attains their first pet by the age of 21 which is much earlier they the average boomer, who did so around age 29. So if you look at your millennial employee chances are they have had a pet for a while and for them that animal is like family. Which is why there is a growing desire to be able to bring their pets with them to where ever they go. Work being the foremost on their mind, as this is where most of us spend the majority of our day. For many this would save them on doggy day care fees or dog walker. It would also allow them to be more focused at work without the worry about getting home in time to make sure their pets are walked and fed.
There is evidence that shows the benefits of being around animals. One study done in 2012 by Virginia Commonwealth University showed that employees who were around dogs reported to feel less stressed then those who had dogs, but had to leave them at home. The same study also showed that pets in the office created more interactions in the workplace that wouldn’t normally have happened. This is especially good in an environment where employees rarely interact. Pets can help create an overall positive office morale and relationships, if presented in the right way. This is keeping in mind those with allergies, fears and making sure the animals allowed are well behaved and taken care of in the office space.
Pets in the workplace can help with attendance and especially those jobs or days with long hours. If the worker’s pet is with them they don’t feel the pressure to run home and take care of them. Instead they are able and in many cases more willing to stay later or put in the extra hours. Plus with the stress-reducing benefits the employee is much more happy to do so.
Allowing pets in the office or workplace does require some well thought out guidelines to allow for those who are not pet owners or fans of animals. Understanding the building restrictions is also important. Perhaps creating a space that is animal free for those who are allergic or not a fan. Or only allowing the pets certain days of the week could be another solution. However a business chooses to set up the guidelines, there is little doubt having a cuddly animal in the building can help to improve many people’s attitudes. Let’s be honest, we’ve all seen a cute animal video at least once this week and secretly longed to run out and cuddle one.