- Mars Petcare revealed the latest in pet-friendly work environments at its new corporate headquarters, including Wi-Fi equipped dog parks, where workers and their pets can play together, and "slurp stations," so pets can take beverage breaks along with their owners. The company said it wants to encourage other businesses to introduce pet-friendly policies in their organizations.
- Mars Petcare's new headquarters includes other pet-friendly amenities, including two indoor dog play areas, staffed by a "pack leader" and full-time "pet sitters"; customized pet bed and toy storage areas throughout the office; sizable furniture, including sofas and ottomans, covered with pet-friendly fabric; and more than 60 acres of pet-friendly landscaping with walking paths.
- According to Mars Petcare, in a survey of U.S. employers and their workers, 87% of employers said that being dog-friendly helps them attract and retain more talent, and nearly 60% of employees said they would select a dog-friendly employer over one that's not.
According to the American Pet Products Association, 85 million American families own pets. A pet-friendly workplace is a nice perk for employees who don't want to leave their pets home alone or believe they're more productive with their pets nearby. Nationwide and the Human Animal Bond Research Institute released a study in June on how employees respond to pet-friendly office environments and found that 91% of employees who work for a pet-friendly organization felt engaged in their work, while less than 65% of employees at non-pet-friendly work sites reported feeling engaged.
But before setting up a pet-friendly office, employers may need to poll workers first to find out objections employees might have to the idea. Employees may have very real concerns about allergies or feel uncomfortable around dogs. Similarly, benefits like pet insurance are on the rise just as American spending on pets rises in turn.
While pundits love to talk about younger workers opting for pets over children, employers have increased their spend on family-friendly benefits of all types, including backup child care, as Target recently announced. Caregiving, generally, could be a key area of growth for employee benefits in coming years, especially as millennials become the newest "sandwich generation" — caught between caring for young children and aging parents.