Take Your Dog to Work Day – At the Insurance Office?

To continue along my controversial article track, let’s tackle the idea of Take Your Dog to Work Day (referred to as TYDTWD). We’re past that point in the summer as the day is always scheduled for the Friday after Father’s Day (June 22nd in 2018), but this way you’ll have nearly a year to debate whether to take part in the event next year.

Before you get up in arms, let’s clear a few things up. First, this is not a Millennial invention – the event began in 1999, when Millennials were still a good decade away from working in an office. Second, we have days like Take Your Daughter/Son to Work day, and for Millennials that are taking longer to have kids, dogs often fill that “child” slot in their lives. If you need proof, the Washington Post wrote a great article on how “Millennials are picking Pets over People”. They point out that 3/4ths of people in their 30s have dogs.

That said, there are plenty of reasons why TYDTWD sounds like a terrible idea. Some dogs don’t get along, others might have accidents, they’re a distraction, and some coworkers are bound to not like them.

However, I’m fairly certain all of those statements apply to children as well. And I have yet to see my friends put their kids in a reliable down/stay.

The point of this long preamble is that yes, TYDTWD can seem like another bogus Millennial “perk” that’s being pushed in offices around the country, but really it’s not that different from taking a kid to work.

Hopefully you’,re at least slightly on board at this point (or open to being on board? I’ll take anything). There are tons of practical considerations when planning TYDTWD – how many breaks are allowed, what happens if there’s an accident, what if some dogs don’t get along, how to prevent distractions, etc. There are some great articles outlining these considerations, like here, here, and here. None of the issues are insurmountable, they just require planning like any other event.

At this point, you might be asking “why even bother?” Well, here’s why:

  1. Insurance has a reputation of being stodgy to a fault. I’ve yet to come across anyone outside of the industry that describes it similarly to freewheeling start-up industry, and only one insurance professional who ever described their office as fun and open-minded in that way. To attract young talent, we need to be open to new ideas and break some molds that have been presented to said-talent their entire lives.
  2. As mentioned earlier in the article, Millennials really love their pets. Having a day where they can share that love and part of their lives with their job is a huge step. It shows that the company cares beyond the confines of 9-5, and is open to being a part of their employees’ lives outside of the workplace.
  3. The insurance industry needs to start taking other industry’s practices and perks into account. The excuse “well no other insurance company does this” isn’t going to fly in an environment where we’re already having a problem attracting talent. We need to look at it from the perspective of “what are other offices doing?” regardless of the type of work. If other offices are livening things up with events like TYDTWD, we should be open to doing the same.

To be honest, I’m not sure how TYDTWD would go even where I’m at. It would likely be easier in smaller offices. Also, even with well-trained dogs, I get nervous at the thought of how they would interact in an office environment. I like the idea of “if your dog is misbehaving, take it home.”

It’s a very company-specific event as to how to set rules and present the idea. While it seems like a lot of work, it could also be a really fun day that employees brag about to their non-insurance friends. It would break stereotypes of the grey office environment and generate some buzz for new candidates.

Let us know if you’ve tried TYDTWD at your office, how it went, and what rules helped make the day fun.

And if you really want to draw in Millennials with pets, consider offering pet insurance as part of your benefits package! (Future article incoming)

About Taryn Haas

I'm a philosophy nerd turned Associate Underwriter at Vermont Mutual. While I won't find Wittgenstein in CG forms, the language and logical constructs make both studies interesting to decipher. Occasionally, you'll find me playing my keyboard and singing passionately with my fiance at local cafes, or tucked into a corner writing sci-fi/fantasy stories.

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