With millions of workers expected to return to full-time, in-person work in the months to come, many will also have to make changes to the pandemic-era routines and habits they've built over the past year and a half.
In its new Pet Parent Pulse Survey, financial services company MetLife indicated that 74% of working pet parents are already thinking about the pet care-related expenses involved with the return of in-person work, particularly with preparing their pet for this change (34%) and their pet's health care costs if something goes wrong (40%).
38% of pet owners expect to spend on additional pet care services during this transition period
MetLife found that nearly all (95%) of working pet parents predict that a return to in-person work would cause a change in their pet's routine or impact their overall health in some way. In particular, many worry that the sudden change would:
- Disrupt their pet's routine (26%)
- Make them anxious (24%)
- Make them stressed (24%)
- Cause them to act out (24%)
- Disrupt their eating routine (23%)
In response, 38% of working pet owners plan on investing in additional support, such as a pet sitter or pet day care, while others say they will adjust their work hours accordingly (29%) or take a paycut to continue working remotely (23%).
And while 20% of respondents are contemplating bringing their pet back to the shelter or finding it a new home, a different survey from Hill's Pet Nutrition showed that over 8 in 10 pet parents plan to make up for their time away by staying home more often to spend time with their pet.
Others plan on finding a job with better pet benefits elsewhere
Interestingly, MetLife discovered that pet ownership doesn't just influence these employees' immediate workplace needs — it plays a significant role in their career prospects as well.
Findings show that a majority of working pet parents (71%) want or expect their employer to offer helpful resources in making a smoother transition back to in-person work for them and their furry friends, but 29% don't believe that the company would actually do so.
This seems to be the case for many employees struggling with various aspects of post-pandemic work, as another survey from Personal Capital found that nearly 7 in 10 U.S. workers feel that "employers are not great at hearing employees' post-COVID needs and expectations."
As a result, 67% of working pet owners are either actively searching for or considering changing jobs at this time, and as many as 51% say that the lack of adequate pet benefits offered by their current employer affects their decision to make the switch.
In fact, MetLife respondents also noted that benefits offerings like pet insurance (51%) and flexible job hours (45%) would have the greatest impact on any future job decisions they'd make.
"When considering benefits to help attract and retain employees, employers should keep in mind that many of today’s employees are pet parents with financial apprehensions around the impact this eventual transition will have on their pets’ well-being," said Katie Blakeley, vice president and head of MetLife Pet Insurance.
"In the end, offering comprehensive benefits that meet all employees’ needs is a surefire way to maintain an engaged, productive and happy workforce."
Methodology: In June 2021, CITE Research conducted an online survey of 1,000 U.S. adult employees (ages 18-62) who are dog or cat parents on behalf of MetLife. Participants were also screened to ensure they met the following qualifications: