Here's a way to de-stress at work that we can get behind: Bring your dog to work!
New research from Virginia Commonwealth University showed that bringing dogs to work could lower stress and increase employee satisfaction. The study was published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management.
"Pet presence may serve as a low-cost, wellness intervention readily available to many organizations and may enhance organizational satisfaction and perceptions of support," study researcher Randolph T. Barker, Ph.D., a professor of management at Virginia Commonwealth University, said in a statement. "Of course, it is important to have policies in place to ensure only friendly, clean and well-behaved pets are present in the workplace,” he said.
Researchers conducted their study on the employees of a manufacturing retail company called Replacements, Ltd., that allows employees to bring pets to work. There are about 550 people who work at the Greensboro, N.C. company.
The employees of the company were designated into three different categories: those with dogs, who brought them in to work during a workweek; those with dogs who did not bring them into work; and those who don't have a dog. All the employees filled out surveys and produced samples of their saliva to gauge levels of stress hormones.
In the mornings, all three groups' stress hormone levels were about the same. However, as the day went on, the people who brought their dogs in had lower levels of self-reported stress. Meanwhile, self-reported stress increased for the people who didn't bring in their dogs, and for those who don't have dogs.
The researchers also noted that the employees were making positive comments like "pets in the workplace can be a great bonus for employee morale … " and " "having dogs here is great stress relief."
USA Today reported in 2009 on a survey showing that 20 percent of companies are pet-friendly. Some include Urban Decay, in California, and Healthwise, a nonprofit based in Boise.
For more health benefits of pets, click through this slideshow from HuffPost blogger Joan Liebmann-Smith, Ph.D: