Pet-friendly Work Environments

PERKS Editorial Team

PERKS Editorial Team


February 9, 2022

The Building Culture Podcast - Episode 4.2

Kentucky Gallahue & Derby the Goldendoodle, "Pet-friendly Work Environments"

Kentucky Gallahue and his goldendoodle Derby, contestants on Amazon Prime’s The Pack, share their thoughts with Building Culture on the perks of pet-friendly workplaces. What are the benefits and what is important to consider when allowing animals at work? Join the conversation on Twitter @getperks_io


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Show notes:

  • Some well-known companies that allow pets at work:
    • Amazon
    • Airbnb
    • WeWork
    • Petsmart
  • What was Kentucky's experience working in a dog-friendly work environment?
    • Kentucky agreed to travel from San Diego to LA for work during the week - on the condition that he could bring Derby with him.
  • Benefits of being a pet-friendly company? Employee Benefit News says:
    • pets help lower stress, encourage exercise
    • 67% identified their pet is the main reason they wouldn’t return to an office full-time
    • 56% would give up their lunch break if they could bring their pet to work
    • 13% willing to give up overtime pay
    • 16% would rather give up their PTO than not bring their pet to the office
    • Reduced absenteeism
    • Wagmo found that the companies we mentioned earlier reported improved company culture and productivity
  • How does a dog-friendly environment contribute to having a positive people or employee experience?
    • Dogs bring joy to the workplace, and studies confirm that happier employees are generally more productive
  • What boundaries should people should take into consideration regarding pets in office?
    • Behavior (around people, other dogs, new places)
    • Allergies
    • Training
    • Housebroken
    • Facilities/amenities
    • State and federal laws
    • Owners are completely responsible for the behavior of their animal
    • Gather feedback from both leaders and team members
  • Not every company will be ready to switch to having pets around. What's the happy medium between allowing pets and a strict no-pet policy?
    • SHRM: occasional visits, give advance notice
    • “Yappy hour” - meeting up at a space where pets are welcome
    • Volunteering with animal shelters
    • Pet insurance - in 2015, 36% of companies made this available
    • Animal therapy days
  • Kentucky and Derby recently became a certified pet therapy team. Why is pet therapy important and who can it help?
    • Communication on a different level
    • Stress relief
  • Many millennials are choosing to have pets first and children later. Will this trend continue?
    • It seems likely! With millennials and Gen Z making up more and more of the workforce, this benefit will be an important one for recruitment
  • “Pet-friendly work environments” can also include remote arrangements.
    • Scottish researchers found that companion animals helped people not feel as lonely in a pandemic and actually give them a sense of purpose. 
  • What advice would you give for People & Culture professionals who are debating whether to change pet policies?
    • SHRM: retention is one of the biggest benefits of allowing pets in the workplace!
    • Animals can bring people closer together, and that’s the ultimate goal of having the human component of culture.