Office workers log long hours these days. What if their favorite pooch is left at home all day alone? That could be stressful, for both workers and their pets.
At one Michigan office, though, this isn’t a concern: This office offers an on-site doggie daycare. Employees can sign their dogs in for the day and get to work, knowing that their dogs will be played with and cared for. When the work day ends, employees can pick up their dogs and head home.
This might sound like an unusual luxury. But with unemployment still low and demand for talented workers higher, companies that want to attract and retain young workers have to offer perks to set themselves apart. That’s why Rockford, Michigan-based footwear manufacturer Wolverine Worldwide earlier this year opened its on-site dog daycare service.
This service comes courtesy of Dogtopia, a Phoenix, Arizona-based dog daycare and boarding provider. The Wolverine Worldwide location is the first of the company’s Dogtopia@Work campuses. But Kathy Halter, vice president of new center development for Dogtopia, says that she expects a growing number of companies to take advantage of this service.
“Millennial workers are really mobile. They are also focused on their pets because many are starting families later in life,” Halter said. “Millennials have this sense of adventure. They’re not averse to moving from job to job to take on new challenges. They are very comfortable looking for the next business opportunity. Offering a benefit like this that is focused on their pets is one way for companies to retain these employees.”
Halter says that she expects Dogtopia to expand to five or so Dogtopia@Work locations next year. The following year? She expects 10 to 20 of the corporate locations to open.
“The petcare business is dynamic, though. It is growing so fast,” Halter said. “We are modifying our plans regularly. But we are modifying them forward, not scaling them back. The dollars being spent on pets these days is astonishing.”
The Dogtopia@Work location in Rockford, Michigan, offers company-subsidized dog daycare to 750 employees. In a statement, Blake Kreuger, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Wolverine Worldwide, said that the service is a way to make life better for the company’s workers.
“It’s important for us to continue to invest in our workplace environment in a way that aligns with our values as an employer of choice and enriches the daily experience and quality of life of our workforce,” Kreuger said. “We’re extremely excited to have Dogtopia’s presence and friendly staff at our global headquarters to provide pristine care for our employees’ pets while they help drive our business forward.”
Halter in her previous career spent about 20 years working in the childcare business, including corporate on=site childcare. A growing number of companies during this time realized that they needed to offer on-site childcare services if they wanted to retain working moms, Halter said.
Now companies are in a different age, trying to retain Millennials, Halter said. On-site childcare is still important, of course. But on-site pet care matters, too.
“Parents who had enrolled their children in the on-site childcare stayed with the corporation much longer,” Halter said. “The service kept parents there. We expect to see the same thing with Millennials in this new age of people having their babies later in life and their pets sort of becoming their children.”