The COVID-19 pandemic is shaking up workplace culture. With many people working from home, pets have become our favorite (and quirkiest) co-workers and a prized addition to remote work culture. It comes as no surprise, then, that dog-friendly benefits are becoming more sought after by employees. In fact, 77% of dog parents claim they place even more importance on working for a dog-friendly company after spending so much time with their pets during the pandemic, according to a recent Rover report.
With dog-friendly culture quickly becoming more desired, companies across the U.S. are taking advantage of a shifting workplace landscape and looking for ways to include dogs in company culture. To help make sure dogs are accounted for in the future of work, Rover—one of the top dog-friendly offices in the country, and the world’s largest online marketplace of pet sitters and dog walkers—has pulled together the latest tips and tricks for maintaining a dog-friendly culture in a remote environment.
Why a Dog-Friendly Culture is Important
Dogs are already boosting remote work culture during the COVID-19 pandemic. So much so, that nearly all companies featured on this year’s Best Dog Friendly Companies report (94%) have maintained their dog-friendly culture by sharing photos and videos of pets with their teams. And for 88%, dogs are encouraged to join work-related video calls.
“Sharing the unconditional love of a pet is a welcome benefit in any work setting,” says Rover’s Head of People, Jovana Teodorovic, an expert on dog-friendly workspaces. “Right now most people are interacting with their colleagues virtually from home work spaces, where many have pets. Dogs are naturally finding their way into video calls and inboxes, giving colleagues something to bond over.” In a time of so much uncertainty, dogs are not only bringing us together but also helping us cope on our own. According to a recent Rover survey, 79% of pet parents attribute working alongside their dog to improved mental health and wellness. “Happier employees leads to better results,” states Jovana. A dog-friendly culture is a win-win for employees and companies alike.”
Unsurprisingly, pet parents appreciate the cultural development. In a recent Rover survey of dog owners, 64% said that they believe a company with a dog-friendly culture and perks cares more about its employees when compared to one without. Pet perks are so important, in fact, that 52% of pet parents would be willing to compromise on their salary in exchange for dog-friendly perks and benefits and 59% claim they would consider leaving their current job if dog-friendly perks and benefits were no longer offered.
Employees aren’t the only ones benefiting from company pet perks. In a recent survey of dog-friendly companies, 93% claim that company morale has improved since implementing dog-friendly benefits. Others have attributed a dog-friendly culture to more employee interaction and engagement, and better communication among team members. Pet-friendly companies are also finding that pet perks contribute to hiring success, with 95% believing that being a dog-friendly company has positively impacted hiring and recruiting of new employees.
5 Tips for Maintaining a Dog-Friendly Workplace Culture, Remotely
Of the companies featured on this year’s Best Dog-Friendly Companies report, just 36% said they plan to return to the office in the coming months. While we don’t know exactly what the future of work will look like, it does appear that dogs may become a permanent part of work culture.
As the Head of People and Culture at Rover, Jovana Teodorovic knows a thing or two about incorporating dog-friendly benefits into company culture. She advises, “With so much in flex, now is a great time to foster a dog-friendly culture.” Of those featured on this year’s Best Dog-Friendly Companies report, 20% of companies have already added additional dog-friendly perks since the beginning of the pandemic. To help others create and maintain a dog-friendly culture, Rover has assembled an expert-curated list of tips and tricks.
- Encourage pet participation
- Include pets in company benefit packages
- Allow time off for new and departed pets
- Offer an adoption fee stipend
- Consider allowing dogs in the office
Encourage pet participation
Pets are a great way for colleagues to bond while working apart. Encourage employees to swap their favorite photos, videos, and anecdotes of their dogs. Cameos from dogs on video calls are also welcome and recommended.
Include pets in benefit packages
It’s no secret that dogs are largely considered to be members of the family. It comes as no surprise that of pet-related benefits, dog parents claim the one they value the most is a stipend or discounted pet health insurance from their employer. As an added incentive, 60% of pet parents claim that dog-friendly benefits like pet health insurance help them better financially provide for their pet.
Allow time off for new and departed pets
Gaining or losing a family member can be taxing, canine members included. An extra day or two of PTO can go a long way for pet parents welcoming a new dog or saying goodbye to an old furry friend.
Offer an adoption fee stipend
Everyone deserves to experience the unconditional love of a pet. To help employees take full advantage of pet-friendly perks, offer a stipend to cover the cost, or a portion of, pet adoption fees. According to Jovana, “When employees are able to take full advantage of all of the company benefits offered to them it helps boost trust and morale among employees.”
Consider allowing dogs in the office
For those operating in a hybrid environment, or plan to return to the office eventually, consider allowing dogs. A primary reason pet parents seek to work for dog-friendly companies is because of the extra time they get to spend with their canine companions. In fact, in a recent survey of dog parents more than half (55%) said they would be more inclined to work in an office (compared to at home) if dogs are allowed.
With just a few added benefits, companies can help employees stay engaged and boost team morale while maintaining a dog friendly culture—whether working in-person or remotely. Be sure to check out this year’s results for Rover’s ranking of the nation’s top dog-friendly offices, and submit your office for consideration on next year’s list.
*Rover survey via Pollfish in June 2021 of 1,000 U.S.-based dog parents.