It’s growing increasingly common to see pets at work, especially for companies in the creative industries. LinkedIn currently has 531 results for “dog-friendly” jobs in the Greater Los Angeles area, followed by 525 positions currently hiring in Manhattan. America’s top companies including Google, Amazon, and our very own Mitchell+Palmer offices not only have pet-friendly policies but some awesome perks as well, like complimentary dog biscuits at reception desks or access to doggie-sized water fountains. It’s not only a perk that allows companies to attract quality talent, but it’s a benefit that helps the company culture as a whole.
There has been a lot of research on the impact that pets have on children, the elderly, those on hospice, and even our prisoners. In all cases, people were happier, developed stronger relationships, and took more pride in reaching their full-potential when animals were around. The same stats are proving to be true with individuals who have pets in the office.
“I don’t actually have a dog, but my favorite days in the office are when there are pups at our (Mitchell and Palmer offices) to pet and play with. It doesn’t matter how much I’ve got on my plate at the time, petting a dog ALWAYS makes me feel so much better! They’re the best stress reliever, and I guess they’re pretty cute too,” Lindsey Raaker told me when we had our office dog, Levi, hanging out around the cubicles today.
According to a study that surveyed 31 companies in America, pets in the workplace allowed for a fulfilling experience. The results found that as offices are increasingly ditching walled up offices for open workstations, pets help fill the gap.
Psychologically, they convey the perception that someone is approachable and friendly. Other studies have found that the presence of companion animals in a group work setting encouraged participants to be more cooperative, communicative, and friendly towards each other. All of these studies support the idea that pets in the office can help break down barriers to social interaction by providing a topic of conversation.
“When you’re new, it’s nice to have dogs around the office as it helps break the ice with your co-workers. You may not know what you have in common with them yet, but it’s always easy to approach them and ask what their dog’s name is. I definitely feel closer to my co-workers here than at my previous positions because of that, ” Raaker added.
Beyond aiding in communication, dogs have also been found to help employees feel more creative, lead healthier lifestyles, have decreased levels of stress, and feel more loyal to their employers. There have been over 1,900 studies conducted since 2017 which evaluated pets in the workplace, and every study we read through, all found the same results: that the positives significantly outweigh any negatives – such as extra cleaning fees for any accidents, or dedicating pet-friendly areas to keep them away from employees with allergies.
The change to welcome dogs to the office shows both the value employers place on employee satisfaction, and also, the value people place on animals as a whole.
“Workplaces instantly become more impressive when there are dogs hanging out. It makes that location and job shift into a place I want to be a part of,” Lindsay Raaker added.
Increasingly, millennials are choosing pets over getting married and/or having kids. Where millennials are half as likely to be married or living with a partner than they were 50 years ago, 71 percent of men between the ages of 18 and 34 own dogs (versus 62 percent of women), and 48% had cats (versus 35 percent of women).
When you add a growing amount of the workforce that cares more about pets than offspring to a record number of employees that care more about office environment than pay raises, and it proves the value of dogs in the workplace.
As to the power of office dogs moving forward? 40 percent of millennials say they specifically search out dog-friendly work environments, with 72 percent of employees saying that dog-friendly offices make them more likely to consider the position.
With unemployment rates at a record low, and companies spending record amounts to not only attract but keep quality employees, it seems the future is four-legged.