The current study by Mars proves that animals make you happier, not only at home but also at work – assuming clear rules
Vienna – Mars conducted an online study in Belgium, Austria and Switzerland to examine how the relationship between people and their pets has changed during the pandemic and the reasons why animals are present in the workplace. In Germany, at least 34 percent of workers can bring their pets to the office (for comparison: in Belgium only 11 percent and in Switzerland 28 percent). Especially among the new “animal parents”, many want to work from home because of their animals. So why not just allow humans and animals to work together? supported by the planet Mars “Bring your pet to work” on June 24 It is the perfect introduction to the “Office Dog” project, because pets can have a positive impact on the 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 in the house, but also have a positive effect on the working environment in the office. An online study conducted by iVOX on behalf of Mars with more than 1,000 participants each from Belgium, Austria and Switzerland showed: In this country, 34 percent of workers can bring their pets to the office, compared to only 11 percent in Belgium and 28 percent in Switzerland. A total of 6 in 10 employees say they would feel more comfortable in the office if the family dog was nearby.
However, bringing pets into the office is still unusual for many companies and their employees. On Mars, animals in the workplace have been an integral part of office organization for many years. And for good reason: Animal fellows don’t just create a pleasant working environment for their “people.” Mars employees who have experience with their animals in the office confirm that having their pet increases interaction with colleagues (9/10), contributes to an overall better atmosphere (9/10), enjoyment at work (9/10), reduces stress levels ( 8/10), encourages active use of rest periods (7/10) and can even increase productivity.
Happier with a pet – and many benefits to society
In the Mars survey of about 1,000 Austrians, about 5 in 10 households reported having a pet. The most common are dogs (38%) and cats (35%). In almost all households pets (88%) are viewed as an integral part of the household. 74 percent of pet parents say it’s normal to talk to their pets, 80 percent think their dog or cat is their own character, and 51 percent let their pets sleep in their bed. Only 16 per cent of people surveyed in Austria said they do not have a pet and do not want to own one.
Owning a pet not only makes respondents happier (91%), but they also see many other benefits of owning an animal. 88% believe pets reduce stress levels, make us more active (90%) and facilitate social interaction (83%). Respondents also say that pets help children and young people develop social and nurturing skills (90%), feel accepted and navigate difficult moments (91%) and contribute to greater social cohesion in society (86%).
The ‘epidemic effect’: More new pet owners than ever before
During the pandemic, many people have made the decision to adopt a pet for the first time. In order to compensate for the lack of social contacts and the additional free time available, pet ownership in Austria has increased significantly over the past two years. A pet is a decision that has a major impact on daily life, family and family planning, but also work-life balance.
Sixty per cent of Austrian pet owners report that the relationship with their pets has intensified during the pandemic. They now miss their cat or dog even more when they can’t be around and are reluctant to leave them alone as a result. For this reason, 26 percent of new animal parents would like to continue working from home temporarily. Their pets are becoming an important aspect of the work-life balance — an aspect companies must consider if they are to get their employees back to work, at least in part, in the wake of the pandemic. The ability to bring your own pet can be a motivating factor 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 the other 11 percent, the topic is “on the table” and will be discussed with the employer. However, in most companies, the potential of the concept has not been considered or rejected. However, according to the study, animals in the workplace can have a positive impact on the atmosphere, employee well-being and even productivity. The expectations employees have about bringing dogs into the office include: feeling happier and a better atmosphere in general (43%), more social interaction among employees (32%), and improved quality and activity of breaks (33%). . These statements apply to employees who have dogs as well as to those who do not have dogs
Mars Austria employees in their dog friendly office and what it means to them to be able to take their dogs to work
Working full time while taking care of a dog is not easy because the animals need attention and they have to go out regularly. I appreciate the flexibility that comes with being able to bring your dog into the office. This allows me to adequately take care of Casimir even on working days.“
Thomas Lugger, Channel Grocery Manager, Mars Austria
In order for all colleagues and work dogs to feel comfortable, it is important to observe some rules to facilitate cooperation – and this works very well.“
Karin Zandt, Consumer Care, March Austria
There is no bad mood or stress on our team when Buddy is around. It is great to see how a dog can positively influence the overall atmosphere of the office.”
Fruzsina Molnar, Customer Service, March Austria
Photos of Mars employees and their animals can be found in the photo gallery (Image credit: Mars Austria)
Clear rules for the smooth coexistence of people and animals
When deciding whether or not to set up a pet-friendly office, some intractable misconceptions remain. Above all, “perceived” concerns about poor hygiene (41%) and potential inconvenience from barking were mentioned. However, implementing a “pet policy” can alleviate many of these concerns. 82 percent of respondents agreed that pre-agreed rules are essential to the peaceful coexistence of people and animals in the workplace.
For example, Mars developed so-called “pets” that apply equally to all involved: dogs, their owners, and people who do not have pets of their own. Dogs can only be brought into the office if they are healthy and well taken care of, get along well with other colleagues, including pets, and behave calmly during phone calls and meetings, for example.
For a guide to taking your first steps toward a pet-friendly workplace, see 8 tips to get you started.
An online survey conducted by the market research agency iVOX on behalf of Mars between 6 May 2022 and 20 May 2022 among 1,000 people in Austria, representative of them by region, gender, age and education. The maximum error rate of the Austrian 1000 is 3.02%.
In addition, this survey was also conducted among 500 people in Austria working in an office environment, represented by region, gender, age and education. The maximum error rate of the Austrian 500 is 4.38%.
A better world for pets
Pet-friendly workplaces are part of the holistic Mars vision: a better world for pets. She has three goals: healthy, happy, and welcome pets, with an emphasis on responsible pet ownership. In addition, Mars is committed to ensuring that all pets around the world find loving homes. Pet-friendly offices have been a staple on Mars for decades, and Mars’ active commitment to community acceptance of “pets in the workplace” can play an important role in addressing the problem of pet homelessness.
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