Pets are emerging as the unexpected underdogs in the remote work battle.
Both in the United Kingdom and North America, a fierce battle is underway in the modern workplace.
On one side, employees eager to cling to the remote work they’ve become accustomed to since the pandemic.
And on the other, their employers, keen to push staff back into physical offices and an outdated 9-5 routine that quickly phased out when the pandemic began.
Some employees have threatened to quit over being forced back, while some employers have threatened to fire staff members who don’t comply.
Yet, in this tug-of-war, an unexpected third party has become more affected — and is making more of a difference — than anyone previously thought: your pet.
RTO isn’t pet-friendly
A study conducted by global data gathering firm Statista recently found that hundreds of British employees have had to give up their beloved pets over the past year because of RTO mandates.
One in five of the 2,000 UK residents surveyed said they have either given up their pet or were seriously considering doing so within the last year. Of that amount, 22% said it was because they can no longer work from home.
“This change in work dynamics has left many owners unable to provide adequate care for their pets during work hours, leading to tough decisions being made,” Statista said.
But don’t worry — no dogs were harmed in this study.
Research has confirmed that while the number of pet surrenders has increased among former remote workers over the past year, more and more people who have sufficient work-life balance are picking up the slack by taking surrendered pups in.
Pets have an emotional benefit for remote workers
Interestingly, the data from Statista comes not long after a separate survey by TrustedHousesitters found that remote workers overwhelmingly had better well-being by having a pet at home.
That study found that 91% of remote workers said they felt less stressed out when working nearby a beloved furry friend. It also helped them feel less lonely and keep better health overall.
It goes without saying that humans can form strong attachments with pets. In a labour climate of intense struggle over working conditions, pets may become another decisive factor for the UK’s workers.
Remote workers have resisted going back into the office for reasons as run-of-the-mill as avoiding long commutes to as particular as wanting to enjoy their cuppa at home.
While some UK offices do allow pets on the premises, this is a small 17% out of millions.
The ability to be at home with Fifi or Fido, or to bring them into the office, may just be the unexpected remote work perk that has more Brits saying no to returning to the office after all.
Find the latest remote jobs in the UK via RemoteWorker.co.uk.