Workplaces across the nation today are celebrating Take Your Dog to Work Day. It’s a chance for people to introduce their furry best friends to their peers and colleagues, bridging the gap between work and personal life. In the modern office, as employers are finding more ways to bridge that gap, and more Americans are owning dogs, will every day soon become Take Your Dog to Work Day?
More dog owners than ever
Pet ownership has always been popular in America, and dogs remain the favorite animal for households. Currently, almost half (44 percent) of all American households have a dog. For millennials, that figure skyrockets: Three-quarters of millennials in the U.S. today are dog owners.
The increase in dog ownership for younger generations is linked to a shift in the way millennials are living. Fewer are getting married and having children than previous generations, while more are keeping pets than their predecessors.
Dogs good for the body, soul
There’s general acceptance that owning a pet increases our wellness. Recent research shows that dog owners have lower risks for developing heart disease (likely due to increased levels of physical activity). Dog owners on average report walking 22 more minutes per day than non-dog owners.
Owning a dog can be good for the soul, too. In one survey of cat and dog owners, a “Satisfaction with Life Scale” showed that pet owners were happier and more satisfied with their lives than those without pets. And those with dogs were even better off and happier than cat owners, reporting a greater number of positive emotions such as “fun-loving” or “silly” than the cat owners.
So owning a dog can be good for you. And younger Americans own more dogs than ever. Where does that leave pets in the workplace?
Dogs in the workplace
NBCNews reports that as of 2015, 8 percent of American workplaces allowed employees to bring pets to work, an increase from 5 percent in 2013. Pet health insurance is now also becoming a benefit on the map, with 9 percent of companies like Google offering it to employees.
In their 2016 “Pet-Friendly Workplace PAWrometer,” Banfield Pet Hospital asked over 1,000 U.S.-based employees and 200 HR decision makers about the status and perceptions of pets in the workplace. Seventy percent of those surveyed said that having pets at work makes a “positive impact on office dynamics and workplace morale.”
The PAWrometer survey also suggests that people may stick around longer in workplaces that allow pets. Eighty-two percent of employees said they feel more loyalty to their employers because of pet-friendly HR policies, and over half said they’d be more likely to keep working for their company if it were to implement a pet-friendly policy.
As more dog-owning millennials enter the workforce, and workplaces take strides to increase work-life balance for employees, we look forward to seeing the role pets play in a modern, engaged workplace.