Can pets help when working from home?
During 2020, almost all of us have spent more time at home with our families, as our spare rooms and dining tables have been turned into improvised home office spaces. While this hasn’t been the easiest transition, it has given us a new appreciation for our four-legged friends who’ve become our new favourite co-workers.
Before the events of this year changed how we run our day-to-day lives, on most occasions pet owners would have to leave their cat or dog at home to go work. Despite the enthusiastic greeting your pet might give you when you open the front door, it could feel like you weren’t able to spend as much time with them as you would have liked.
Now that remote working has allowed for more people than ever to do their job from home, we wanted to investigate how people felt about spending extra time with their cat or dog. Our new research with 2,000 UK pet lovers revealed their experiences, and we can safely say that most would love for the extra time with their pet to stay.
Over half of the pet owners we surveyed said that they thought their pet helped keep them happy while working at home, as well as less stressed when handling the everyday challenges that come with work. An improved mental health and increased productivity were also listed as some big positives that come with working alongside a furry companion, so much so that 71% of people said that they preferred the company of their pet over their partner while working at home. Sadly, your pet can’t make you a cuppa when you need one though!
Alistair Ball, Asda Money's Head of Insurance, noted that “people have embraced the opportunity to spend more time with their beloved animals” and “it’s long been recognised that animals have a calming effect on us, which our study further backs up”.
However, there are some possible drawbacks to this increase in quality time with pets at home, especially if we all end up returning to the office on a full-time basis. Around 46% of people surveyed agreed that their pet has become more attached to them since they started working from home, with a third stating that they were concerned with how their pet will react when they leave to go back to the office. Overly attached pets can cause issues in the home, but it can be hard to tackle this when they become too dependent on our company.
For businesses looking to help employees maintain a good work-life balance, we asked pet owners or those considering pet ownership what their employers could do to support them. From our research it was discovered that the top three perks for pet owners were a formal working from home policy, flexible working hours and a pet insurance scheme. Many also loved the idea of being able to bring their dogs to work with them!
Flexibility to work from home or to work different shift patterns would allow pet owners to continue to spend more valuable time with their cats or dogs and make it easier to provide care for their beloved animals.
If you’re a pet owner who needs pet insurance for a dog or cat, then Asda Money can help – all our pet insurance policies, underwritten by Fairmead Insurance, give you access to a 24-hour Vet Advice Line, meaning you can get expert advice when you need it without leaving your home.