Man's best friend may also be an office worker's best source of stress relief.
On Friday, offices around the country celebrated the 15th annual Take Your Dog to Work Day. Though the event's primary goal is to raise awareness for pet adoption, the unanticipated impact may be a slightly more relaxing work environment for any office choosing to participate.
Can your Daschund help you de-stress? Will having your Chihuahua around let you chillax? Apparently so. While national polls indicate that less than twenty percent of all workplaces allow pets, well-documented evidence points to the benefits of animals in the office.
Here are three ways that bringing pets to work helps to improve health and wellness:
1) Reducing stress -- In a self-reported survey of 31 companies, employees reported lower levels of stress with pets in the workplace. Cats slightly edged out dogs in the stress-relief department (sorry, dog-lovers), but both canine and feline contributed to a less stressful work environment. Of course, this tracks with existing research that has shown the positive effect that pets can have on cardiovascular health, autonomic stress responses, and blood pressure.
2) Forcing breaks -- What better way to force yourself to take a break than having Fido around to make sure you do? Studies have demonstrated the value of taking frequent, short breaks as a way of increasing productivity, and pets make us do just that.
3) Making the environment friendlier -- The same instinct that leads you to spontaneously break out into puppy-talk around your pooch may lead you to be more amicable to your colleagues and your customers. In pet-friendly workplaces, employees reported feeling friendlier to one another and finding that customers had a more positive impression of the company.
Of course, bringing a pet to the office may not work for everyone, as some folks may be allergic or feel that pets are a distraction. Check with your employer and other employees to gauge interest and to make sure your building allows pets. If you still need help making the case for your Maltese with the higher-ups, then make sure they know that Google, Tumblr, Zynga and Amazon, among many others, have long had pet-friendly policies. If that list is too cutting-edge, the United States Congress has allowed pets since the 1800s. (Okay, so maybe Congress shouldn't be the basis of your argument.)
Just tell them the facts: Our four-legged friends may be one secret to stress-free employees and satisfied customers.
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