Stifel Equity Research says that millennials will make up nearly 50% of the workforce by 2020. Companies looking to attract those younger employees are trying to develop more ‘millennial-friendly’ workplaces; but before you add snacks, game tables or bean bags, look to the perk that millennials really want: flexibility.
In 2015, the Society for Human Resource Management did a survey that found just 8% of American workplaces allow their employees to bring their dogs to work, but that’s up from 5% in 2013. The same survey found that 9% of companies, including Google, offered pet health insurance.
The president and CEO of the American Pet Products Association, Bob Vetere, says that employers are starting to realize that allowing millennials to bring their pets work gives them more focused employees who are more comfortable at the office, and who are more willing to work longer hours.
This year, Banfield Pet Hospital conducted its first Pet-Friendly Workplace PAWrometer (Pets at Work barometer); they surveyed more than 1,000 employees and 200 human resources decision makers from across the U.S., asking about their perception of pets in the office. They found that nearly 25% of those surveyed worked in pet-friendly offices, but those that did thought it greatly improved their workplace.
Those that worked in pet-friendly workplaces believed their companies’ policy on pets increased productivity, loyalty to the company and decreased stress levels. Employees felt their mental burdens were lifted because they weren’t worrying about leaving their pets at home alone.
While it’s true that a pet-friendly workplace improves the lives of existing employees, these workplaces are also proving to be a huge draw for new talent.
Tami Majer, senior vice president of People and Organization at Banfield, says that allowing pets in the workplace can offer companies a competitive edge. “It’s a benefit/amenity that companies are bringing to the table to recruit employees, especially with respect to millennials,” Majer told Fortune.
More than 66% of the human resources decision makers surveyed by Banfield said potential candidates ask about whether or not the workplace is pet-friendly or not during the interview process.
It also seems that pet-friendly policies are conducive to employee retention; 53% of employees in those workplaces who do not allow pets say they would be more likely to stay with their company if they could bring their pets to work.