As employers the world over mull return-to-office plans, pitting managers and workers against one another over how much time is enough time at the office, an MSPCA-Angell poll of 500 pet owners found that a whopping 92% support pet friendly offices.
As the MSPCA marks Take Your Dog to Work Day on June 24, the survey also revealed that three quarters of those polled say their office enforces a strict “no pets” policy.
Employees on the Move?
In a historically tight labor market, 53% of respondents said they would consider leaving their current roles to join an organization with a pet friendly office policy, while 4% said they are actively looking to make the move. Only 22% said they would not consider switching jobs as a result of their pet policy at work.
These findings should worry even the most hardened bosses, as the labor market remains intensely competitive.
“The survey underscores what we’ve always known to be true: That a large majority want the option to bring their pets to work, and that some workers are willing to seek out employers who value pets as much as they do. The poll makes clear that now is the time for employers to start thinking about developing pet friendly office policies as both a recruiting and retention incentive,” said Kara Holmquist, director of Advocacy for the MSPCA-Angell.
Holmquist noted that the MSPCA’s survey maps to previous polls, such as a 2021 survey that found 71% of Gen Z workers—and nearly half of millennials—planned to ask, or have already asked, their employer to implement a pet friendly office policy.
“Pet Separation Anxiety” Impacting Employees’ Decisions
Forty four percent of respondents said concerns about pet care have impacted their decision on whether and when to return to the office. More than half of those people voiced concern about their pet experiencing separation anxiety and just over a third said they were worried about finding daycare for their animal.
Thirty four percent said that they are working a hybrid schedule, splitting time between a remote setting and their office, while nearly 28% are back in the office full time.
Experts: Everyone Can be Happy in a Pet Friendly Office
While it may seem to be a daunting change for organizations to implement, Holmquist says establishing clear guidelines and rules will lead to a pet friendly policy that can work for everyone. “Having clear and consistent rules can mitigate any potential conflicts with pets in the office,” she said.
Holmquist offers the following recommendations for pet friendly offices:
- Be transparent: Use signs to indicate when a pet is in an office. “A simple sign can go a long way. It can tell people whether your pet is friendly and wants attention or if it should be left alone. The sign also alerts workers who do not want to interact with animals to steer clear of the area,” said Holmquist.
- Be considerate: Leave animals that bark or make noise repetitively at home. “Everyone should be happy and comfortable in their office,” said Holmquist. “If your dog barks a lot, it could disturb your colleagues, so it’s best to leave the dog at home.”
- Keep it clean: Keep pets out of cafeterias and break rooms where people are eating, and clean up after your pet. “Only animals that are housebroken should be allowed in the office, but accidents happen. If they do, clean up immediately,” Holmquist advised. “Also, don’t leave pet food on the floor overnight or between shifts.”
The MSPCA has an entire online resource devoted to the establishment of pet friendly office policies and anyone who’s interested can review it at mspca.org/petfriendly.
The MSPCA-Angell survey was conducted via email from May 25 – 30, 2022. The 556 responses were anonymous, but all were members of the MSPCA-Angell email list, which is composed almost entirely of Massachusetts and New England residents.