Employees of the Month: How Pets Contribute To Remote Work-Life Balance

A white dog wears glasses atop its head and sits next to a laptop

Three years following the lockdown era of the COVID-19 pandemic, about a third (35%) of U.S. workers with jobs that can be done remotely are working from home all of the time, according to the Pew Research Center

Arguments can be made for both the pros (sustainably cutting your commute, perhaps?) and cons (staring at a screen by yourself all day) of full-time remote work. But what we know to be true is that no matter where people work, they are increasingly in need of work-life balance to avoid burnout.

A recent survey conducted by the pet sitting platform TrustedHousesitters asked 2,000 remote worker users how pets impact their mental health. 

The platform offers homestays in exchange for pet care, meaning it is particularly popular among remote workers who like to travel — or just be around animals.

The results showed that pets positively impacted the lives of these workers in three key areas: work-life balance, work-related stress, and healthy habits. 

In fact, roughly 91% of respondents said that caring for pets has improved their remote working experience overall, and nine out of 10 said that working in the company of pets reduced their work-related stress.

It’s long been studied that pets like dogs and cats help humans produce oxytocin — the “cuddle hormone.” With the increase of remote workers managing all aspects of work from home, it can be assumed that this increase in oxytocin is a great antidote to work-related stressors.

Pets can also relieve loneliness that often comes from working alone from a home office. 50% of survey respondents said that pets reduced feelings of loneliness while working remotely.

But it’s not just being in close proximity to a dog and a laptop that does it for folks. The nature of caring for pets means that they tend to be really helpful at implementing mandatory breaks.

To this end, 64% of survey respondents said that pets got them to go outdoors at least once during the work day. Even if a potty break isn’t necessary, nearly half of respondents (49%) also said that pets force them to take a break from their screen during the workday.

A game of fetch in between video calls? Don’t mind if we do.

Additionally, 44% said that pets encourage them to keep a daily routine, which benefits their working experience and keeps them on track.

“This survey proves that when it comes to mental health, pets are the perfect partners for remote workers,” Angela Laws, the head of community at TrustedHousesitters said in a statement. “They provide companionship and help facilitate a much-needed balance between virtual work and life.”

This balance is so vital that roughly two-thirds of the survey’s respondents (65%) said they would “never even consider a new role that didn’t offer a hybrid or remote working option.” 

It turns out, in regards to employee retention, making our jobs meaningful, and improving work-life balance, our furry friends really do deserve the title of Employee of the Month.

Article Details

November 15, 2023 1:32 PM
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