Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Do office pets decrease stress in the workplace?

office_petThis recent article we shared on Twitter explained the positive effects that a pet can have in a work place, and based on how much traffic we saw from that single posting, it would seem that many of you are pet lovers like me.  What do you think about pets in the workplace?

Most employed people are on a constant search for methods to reduce stress in the workplace, improve their personal health, or maybe even increase productivity at the same time. I mean who has ever heard of not being stressed while getting loads of work done, what??! The article mentioned that employers actually notice a benefit from the having pets around, bringing energy, fun, and companionship. I see pets as great company and comfort. A great example given was the case that pet owners may work longer hours if they are able to bring their pet into work. This would save them from the rush to get home at the end of every day to let their pet out. I know that letting my dog was always a constant thought in the back of my mind. I noticed a higher stress level, worrying about her and how she is holding up at home. Does anyone else have that constant worry?

Randolph Barker, a professor of management in Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business, performed a study in 2013 of dogs in the workplace. The results showed an actual decline in stress among workers, while those who didn’t have pets in workplace showed an increase in stress as the day continued. Among other studies, interaction with pets can lower blood pressure and improve a person’s mood. It is crazy to think the littlest things, like pets (sometimes they are little), can be so beneficial!

Before everyone gets all antsy and starts bringing their pet to work, it is suggested that a written policy be enforced. This can prevent liability and keep a clear policy with all things considered - allergies, cleaning up after pets, and the possibility of aggressive behavior. If this option is not considered, there is always The Take Your Dog to Work Day event sponsored by Pet Sitters International, who set aside a day in June to allow those with pets celebrate pet ownership and bring their pets into the work place. This would be a fun day to see so many pets in the work place! Personally, I know my day would brighten up pretty quick! Think about suggesting this to your employer. Who knows, they might consider the day or year round event!

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Topics: employee health stress