Bring Your Dog to Work Job Searches Spike as People Return to the Office

A midsection of unrecognizable teenage girl with a dog sitting on a sofa indoors, working on a laptop.
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There’s a very furry vibe running through the working world post-COVID, at least in offices that are filling up with employees again now that nearly all pandemic restrictions have been lifted.

A rising number of businesses have changed their pet-at-work policies in response to demands from employees who grew attached to their dogs and cats while working remotely the last couple years, according to a new survey from Barkbus, a luxury mobile dog grooming service.

The survey of 1,057 employers and workers found that internet searches for workplace pet policy templates surged 400% over the past year, and 71% of employee respondents said their employers had updated their pet policies. Small businesses were 55% more likely than large ones to have changed their pet policies in the past year, but even huge corporations like Amazon, Google and Nestle’s Purina let employees bring pets to work.

This shift was very much influenced by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in terms of dogs, who are much less adaptable than cats to being left home alone. As the Barkbus report noted, dogs “started living their best lives” during the pandemic’s spike in remote working.

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“Instead of being in crates during the workday, they were on our laps, getting frequent walks, soaking up the snuggles, and bonding with their best friends,” the report said. “Working from home, pet parents and their four-pawed children finally got to spend mass amounts of quality time together.”

Now that many employers have scaled back remote working, workers want to continue that bonding at the office. Among the Barkbus report’s key findings:

  • 86% of employees would look forward to working more if they could bring their dogs to work daily.
  • If employees could bring their dogs to work daily, they would save an average of $138 a week from no longer having to use doggy daycare or dog walkers.
  • Employees’ most desired perks are bringing their dog to work at least on certain days and having dog-friendly spaces, both indoors and outdoors.

Pet-friendly work environments are so important to workers that many prioritize pet policies over just about everything else. As GOBankingRates previously reported, another survey conducted by OnePoll found that about 60% of pet owners have left jobs since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic because they returned to offices that didn’t do enough to accommodate pets. Seven in 10 respondents said they’re willing to accept a pay cut if it means they can bring their pets to work.

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According to the Barkbus survey, more than one-third (36%) of pet parents want to have their dogs at work with them every day. A similar percentage (34%) would settle for designated doggy days at the office, while 29% said they would at least like extra breaks to check on their dogs at home.

Beyond allowing dogs at work, nearly one-third of respondents (31%) said they would like to see their employers add pet insurance to their employee benefits package. Many also support a stipend for doggy day care, dog walking or “pawternity” leave that lets workers stay home and care for sick or newly adopted pets.

The biggest concern on the part of employers is that having pets at the office might reduce productivity. Only 18% of employers in the Barkbus survey said they would let employees bring their dogs to the office every day, though 31% said they would allow this on certain days.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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