Whether you added a new dog to the family for comfort or companionship during extended home isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic or embraced the extra time with an existing furry family member, the mutual benefit of the human-animal bond is undeniable and its importance is showing up in the workplace.
As the first and largest pet insurer in the U.S., Nationwide joins countless pet owners across the country in celebrating National Take Your Dog to Work Day on Friday, June 26. The annual recognition, which was created by Pet Sitters International (PSI) in 1999 as a way to celebrate companion dogs and encourage adoption, takes on a unique twist this year as many people have already had their dogs “at work” in their makeshift home offices.
“As millions of Americans spent the last several months sheltered in place and working from home, we have become increasingly bonded with our pets and more tuned into their care and well-being,” said Heidi Sirota, Nationwide’s Chief Pet Officer. “Companies of all sizes can play an important role in supporting employees with pets. Offering pet-friendly perks such as allowing dogs in the workplace (regularly or occasionally) and offering pet insurance as a voluntary benefit are very meaningful ways to show they care.”
The number of employers that offer pet-friendly benefits continues to rise. According to Nationwide, half of the Fortune 500 and more than 8,600 U.S. companies offer employees its pet health insurance as a voluntary employee benefit, and a study indicates the importance of pet-friendly perks to associates.
The study conducted by Nationwide, in partnership with the Human-Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), shows 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. In contrast, less than 65 percent of employees in non-pet friendly workplaces made the same claims.
More than three times as many employees at pet-friendly workplaces report a positive working relationship with their boss and co-workers, significantly more than those in non-pet friendly environments. Additionally, these employees are more likely to stay with a company long term. The findings held true even among non-pet owners in both pet-friendly and non-pet friendly workplaces.
When viewed across generations, millennials, the largest generation in the U.S. workforce, are far more likely than their Generation X and baby boomer counterparts to value a pet-friendly work environment.
|If my workplace was pet friendly…||Millennials||Generation X||Baby Boomers|
|• I would be more satisfied||58%||45%||36%|
|• I would feel more engaged with my work||51%||39%||30%|
|• I would be more likely to recommend my employer to others||55%||40%||31%|
|• I would likely decline a job offer with similar pay||46%||34%||25%|
“Not only do the findings from the Nationwide/HABRI study emphasize the benefits of having pets with us while we work, but they also show that supporting employees with pets through a variety of means – such as offering pet health insurance – can be highly beneficial in demonstrating an organizational commitment to employee health and well-being,” said Steven Feldman, executive director of HABRI.