Pandemic: More and more people want to take their pet to work

Current Mars study proves: Animals make you happier, not only at home but also at work – assuming clear rules

Vienna (OTS) Mars conducted an online study in Belgium, Austria and Switzerland to examine how the relationship between humans and their pets has changed during the pandemic and the reasons for the presence of animals in the workplace. In Germany, at least 34 percent of workers are already able to bring their pet to the office (for comparison: in Belgium it is only 11 percent and in Switzerland 28 percent). Especially from the new “animal parents”, many would like to be able to work from home because of their pet. So why not let humans and animals come to work together? The one that Mars supports “Bring Your Pet to Work Day” on June 24 is an ideal introduction to the “office dog” project, because: pets can have a positive effect on the overall atmosphere in the workplace and on the work-life balance. A win-win situation for employees, pets and employers – but only if there are clear rules and proper infrastructure.

Pets make their owners happier and enrich the lives of “their” families. But animals not only ensure balance and relaxation at home, but also have a positive effect on the work environment in the office. An online survey conducted by iVOX on behalf of Mars with more than 1,000 respondents each from Belgium, Austria and Switzerland showed: In this country, 34 percent of employees can bring their pets to the office, compared to only 11 percent in Belgium and Switzerland. 28 percent. A total of 6 out of 10 employees say they would feel more comfortable in the office if their family dog ​​was close by.

However, bringing pets to the office is still unusual for many companies and their employees. On Mars, animals in the workplace have been an integral part of the office for many years. And with good reason: Animal colleagues not only create a more enjoyable work environment for “their” people. Mars employees who have had experience with their animals in the office confirm that the presence of their pet increases interaction with colleagues (9/10), contributes to an overall better atmosphere (9/10), enjoyment of work (9 / 10), reduces stress levels (8/10), encourages more active use of breaks (7/10) and may even increase productivity.

Happier with a pet – and many benefits to society

In a Mars survey of about 1,000 Austrians, about 5 in 10 households said they had a pet. The most popular are dogs (38%) and cats (35%). In almost all households pets (88%) are considered an integral part of the family. 74 percent of pet parents say it is normal to talk to their pet, 80 percent believe their dog or cat has their own personality, and 51 percent let their pet sleep in their bed. Only 16 percent of respondents in Austria say they do not have a pet and do not want to have one.

Not only does having a pet make respondents happier (91%), but they also see many other benefits from owning an animal. 88 percent believe that pets reduce stress levels, make us or keep us more active (90%) and facilitate social interaction (83%). Respondents also said that pets help children and young people develop social skills and caring skills (90%), feel accepted and go through difficult times (91%) and contribute to greater social cohesion in society (86%).

The “pandemic phenomenon”: More young pet owners than ever before

During the pandemic, many people decided to adopt a pet for the first time. To compensate for the lack of social contacts and extra free time available, pet ownership in Austria has increased significantly in the last two years. The pet is a decision that has a significant impact on daily life, on the organization of the family and the household, but also on the balance of professional and personal life.

Sixty percent of Austrian pet owners say their bond with their pet has been strained even during a pandemic. Now they miss their cat or dog even more when they can not be near and are reluctant to leave them alone as a result. For this reason, 26 percent of new pet parents would like to continue working temporarily from home. Their pets have become an important aspect of the work-life balance – an aspect that companies need to consider if they want to bring their employees back to work, at least in part, in the aftermath of the pandemic. Being able to bring your own pet can be an incentive for employees.

34% can already look forward to dog-friendly offices – and interest is growing

34 percent of Austrian respondents who keep a dog are allowed to take their pet to the office. For another 11 percent, the issue is “on the table” and will be discussed with the employer. In most companies, however, the possibilities of the concept have not yet been explored or rejected. However, according to the study, animals in the workplace can have a positive impact on the overall atmosphere, worker well-being and even productivity. Employees’ expectations of getting dogs in the office include: a sense of happiness and a generally better atmosphere (43%), more social interaction between employees (32%) and an improvement in the quality and activity of breaks (33%). ). . These statements also apply to employees with dogs as well as those who do not have their own dogs.

Mars Austria employees in their dog-friendly office and what it means for them to be able to get their dog to work

Working full time while caring for a dog is not easy because animals need attention and need to go out regularly. I appreciate the flexibility that comes with being able to bring your dog to the office. This allows me to take good care of Kasimir even during office days.
Thomas Lugger, Grocery Channel Manager, Mars Austria

In order for all co-workers and office dogs to feel comfortable, it is important to follow a few rules for relaxed cooperation – this works very well.
Karin Zandt, Consumer Care, Mars Austria

There is no bad mood or stress in our team when Buddy is around. It is fascinating to see how positively a dog can affect the overall office climate.
Fruzsina Molnar, Customer Service, Mars Austria

Photos of Mars workers and their animals can be found in the photo gallery (image rights: Mars Austria)

Clear rules for the smooth coexistence of humans and animals

When deciding whether or not to have a pet-friendly office, some stubborn misconceptions still exist. The “perceived” concerns for less hygiene (41%) and possible discomfort from barking are mainly mentioned. However, implementing a “pet policy” can alleviate many of these concerns. Eighty-two percent of respondents agree that the pre-agreed rules are fundamental to the peaceful coexistence of humans and animals in the workplace.

For example, Mars has developed a so-called “petiquette” that applies equally to everyone involved: dogs, their owners and people without their own pets. Dogs can only come to the office if they are healthy and well-groomed, get along well with other coworkers, including pets, and behave calmly during phone calls and meetings, for example.

For a guide to taking your first steps to a pet-friendly workplace, here are 8 tips to get you started.

About the study
Online survey conducted by the iVOX market research agency on behalf of Mars between 6 May 2022 and 20 May 2022 on 1,000 people in Austria, representative by region, gender, age and education. The maximum error rate for 1000 Austrians is 3.02%.

In addition, this survey was also conducted on 500 people in Austria working in an office environment, representative by region, gender, age and education. The maximum error rate for 500 Austrians is 4.38%.

A better world for pets

Pet-friendly workplaces are part of Mars’s overall vision: A better world for pets. It has three goals: healthy, happy and welcoming pets, with an emphasis on responsible pet ownership. In addition, Mars is committed to ensuring that all pets around the world find homes of love. Pet-friendly offices have been a key element of Mars for decades, and Mars’s active commitment to community acceptance of “pets in the workplace” can play an important role in tackling pet homelessness.

Questions & Contact:

Mars Austria Press Office
agency skills
Elise Ryba
T: +431 505 26 25 19

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