Saturday, May 21, 2022

The Pet Expert: Employers Attracting New Hires with Pet Perks

Since the start of the pandemic (and arguably even before) a burgeoning transformation has been taking place in the North American workplace. As more baby boomers continue to retire from their long-standing positions, gaps in the workplace now offer increased opportunities for younger generations as they move into new professional roles.

In part, this shift has caused a shortage in the workforce across the continent, and can even be felt in our small town of Meaford. The industries being hit hardest with staffing shortages include labour, retail, and food services.

As a resultant, job seekers are now more likely to pursue employment opportunities more conducive to their lifestyle preferences, such as working remotely from home, for example. To make their workplace more attractive, many companies are offering perks like remote-work opportunities or daycare benefits. Additionally, employers are also using another unique perq to attract new hires: the opportunity to bring your dog to work.

In years past, bringing your pooch to a place of employment would have been heavily frowned upon. Pets in the workplace were often seen as a nuisance or distraction, needing frequent bathroom breaks, barking, chewing, whining, etc. While this is not necessarily true of all dogs, it is difficult for a potential employer to predict just how needy an individual pet will be in the office.

Nowadays, bringing a dog to work has become much more normalized, and in many cases it is encouraged. This trend is growing largely in part due to the mammoth increase in pet ownership during lock-downs. Strong human/animal bonds can make it difficult to even think about leaving our pet home alone during a traditional nine-to-five work week. The separation anxiety these dogs (and their owners) may face could influence certain would-be employees to only seek out permanent work-from-home jobs to be closer to their beloved four-legged friend.

Over the last few decades, there has also been a shift in how pet ownership is viewed. For many, the traditional mindset of owning a dog meant they were considered to be an outdoor-only pet, more akin to livestock. Now, the pet-owning ethos has modernized to the point where dogs are now considered to be and are treated like cherished members of the family.

In fact, many millennials are opting to forgo having children, and are adopting pets instead. Millennials spend more time and income on premium pet services like doggy daycare, grooming, training, foods and supplements, pet gear, and pet experiences, than any other generation. It’s no wonder they want to keep their fur-children nearby at all times, if possible.

Studies have shown there are plenty of benefits to bringing your pets to work, too: lower stress levels, a more positive perception of their employer, higher levels of job satisfaction, and even increased productivity. Interpersonal connections with coworkers are also improved, as pets provide a strong foundation for meaningful bonding experiences with other pet-loving individuals.

Large multinational corporations have recognized the benefits of employees bringing their pets to work. Companies like Amazon, Ticketmaster, and Google have implemented pet-friendly policies in the workplace, and people are responding favourably to this unique occupational perk.

In order to make their workplace most appealing to the best possible hires, companies need to provide incentives to get an edge over their competitors. The concept of bringing your pet to work is growing exponentially across numerous industries, and the workforce is responding with astounding acceptance.

After all, who doesn’t want to work with their best friend?

Brandon Forder, known as The Pet Expert, is vice-president of Canadian Pet Connection, an industry leader in healthy pet lifestyles. Brandon is certified in pet nutrition, and has more than twenty-five years’ experience specializing in pet health and behaviour. He has written hundreds of informative pet-related articles for newspapers, magazines, radio, and the popular Ask the Pet Expert Blog. Brandon is highly skilled in pet problem solving, and enjoys teaching others about smart and responsible pet ownership. To learn more, visit www.CanadianPetConnection.ca.

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