Experts say pets can have a paws-itive impact at work

Employees are looking for help with their fur-babies as they return to the office.
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There are a lot of things going out of style in 2023: crypto, dating apps, and oat milk to name a few. Pets however, are hot as ever, and job-seekers often want employers to roll out the red carpet for their fur-babies.

According to some surveys and experts, pet-related benefits are in high demand. HR leaders may be on the hook to meet employees—and their pooches—where they are.

Digging a (money) hole. Employees likely spend a lot of money on their dogs. The ASPCA estimates that the average dog owner spends nearly $1,400 a year on their pup, and that’s not including any unforeseen chocolate-induced trips to the vet.

People are likely spending even more on their pets now that office occupancy rates are hitting over 50% for the first time since the start of the pandemic. That means workers are now on the hook for hiring a dog-walker or sending their best friends to doggie daycares so posh that even the Kardashians would bark at the cost.

It’s no wonder that in 2022 MetLife found that 54% of pet parents worry that the economic uncertainty will impact their ability to care for their pets this year.

Give employees a bone. It’s clear that benefits managers are thinking about how to cater to employees, as 71% of workers say their employers updated their pet benefits over the past year, according to an August 2022 survey from Barkbus.

Lisa Sholkin, VP of people at Teampay, a tech company with a New York-based, pet-friendly office, told HR Brew that it’s all about meeting employees at whatever life stage they’re in: “When we look at benefits holistically, we look at: What are the greatest needs amongst our employees and where can we deliver benefits that are helpful to them? [Ones that support] their families and how they’re choosing to live.”

“If you want to be able to attract and retain young talent, you’ve got to include pets in your master plan for your city,” Matthew Pepper, president and CEO of Michigan Humane told USA Today. “You’ve got to have work environments that are supportive of people with their pets.”

For HR leaders who don’t want to deal with employee allergies, puppy scrums, or office accidents, there are other ways to show employees that pets are a priority. Companies like SelfMade provide an annual pet care stipend to help offset the costs of day-care and boarding. Others, including Kinship and Stride Health, offer pawternity leave for new pet owners, and pet bereavement leave when an employee loses their best (animal) friend.
Our prediction for the next hot pet benefit: in-office dog spas.

HR is challenging. HR news doesn’t have to be.

HR Brew keeps you effective in the fast-changing business environment.