By 2020, millennials are expected to make up at least half the workforce. They’re also about to have more dogs per person than any other generation, including pup-loving baby boomers.
Put the 2 together, and what do you get? Some very dog-friendly workplaces.
And the benefits aren’t limited to just employees — bringing your dogs to work helps company CEOs, workers and the pets themselves lead happier, healthier and more productive lives.
What’s in It for the Companies?
The Amazons, Googles and Etsys of the world all agree: If an employee’s dog wants a spot in the cubicle or office, it’s all theirs.
Not only that, but some companies even offer perks, like dog spas, on-site walkers and pet insurance benefits.
So many millennials now consider dogs a part of their family that medical, day care and pampering services have become the norm. Much of the generation is holding off on getting married and having kids, so it makes sense their nurturing instincts are directed elsewhere.
Companies have caught on to this trend. They know their workforce will soon comprise mainly millennials, and it’s easy to see what will keep their current and future employees retained, productive, and happy. After all, who can be upset while their best friend hangs out next to them all day long?
In 2012, professor Randolph Barker did a study at pet-friendly Replacements Ltd., a manufacturing services company in North Carolina. He tested the cortisol, or stress hormone, levels of 75 employees for over a week-long period.
The results showed stress levels of employees on days they brought their dogs to work versus days they didn’t. Those results were compared with stress levels of employees without dogs.
Not surprisingly, people who brought their dogs to work had noticeably lower cortisol levels. The kicker? The highest levels of cortisol were found in employees who had dogs but left them at home.
A Productivity Boost
The research doesn’t stop with Barker.
Many companies have reported increased morale and productivity rates after allowing employees to bring their dogs to work. While some naysayers fear having a pup nearby might be distracting, the exact opposite occurs.
Sure, more work breaks are taken throughout the day when work-going dogs need a bathroom break or a quick walk outside. Instead of distracting people from their work, though, the short, frequent breaks are contributing to higher levels of focus among employees.
Sometimes a breath of fresh air is all you need to clear your mind and pump out several hours of high-quality work. What better reason to step outside than to walk your happy, energetic and loving dog?
Watch these dogs enjoy a full workday at the office:
The benefits of pets at work don’t stop with the big-hitter perks, like increased employee productivity and retention.
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A study from the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that short walks can increase creative thinking by up to 60%. Add a dog to the equation, and your work days are sure to end with a greater sense of accomplishment.
Companies are also likely to see a boost in sales after implementing pet-friendly policies. Clients and vendors immediately let their guard down and feel more comfortable in the presence of a dog at the office. Conversation flows more smoothly and the atmosphere is undeniably more personable.
A Persistent Trend
It’s hard to see a trend like this winding down anytime soon.
After all, there’s not much else that successfully:
- Promotes a positive work/life balance
- Reduces stress
- Nurtures productivity
- Encourages positive employee relationships and collaboration
- Improves health (in turn saving money on health care)
Better yet, these benefits aren’t the result of companies persuading employees to take part in exercise programs or spending extra money on costly insurance policies. They’re a result of allowing people to feel like they’re bringing a family member along for the ride each day. And who understands you better than your own family?
For some companies, deciding whether or not to allow dogs at work isn’t a question — it’s simply accepted. They understand some employees’ commutes are too long to leave their pet at home. They know some of their best workers perform even better with their pup companion nearby. They realize it’s a perk more and more applicants are putting at the top of their company “must-have” lists.
Put simply, these companies get it.