The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
Bring Your Pets To Work!
Want a less stressful workplace that’s more calm and filled with more positive social interactions? Then you might want to think about letting in a non-verbal workforce: pets.
Pets have a whole host of emotional and physical benefits for people in an office—think lower blood pressure and reduced cholesterol too. Even just a fish tank helps to lower people’s heart rates. Bring a dog to work and you’ll likely visit the doctor fewer times, too.
One of the biggest ways that pets in an office work their magic is by reducing stress. To do that, there’s a complex physiological change happening with endocrine levels. Pets help to reduce cortisol—the stress hormone—while improving serotonin, the hormone that helps to regulate sleep, appetite and more.
And while it might not seem like a correlation, pets in the office actually improve morale and creativity. Pets, especially dogs, need breaks, and those breaks can be just what employees need to reboot and rethink all those to-dos in front of the workday.
In addition to that boost in creativity, pets help co-workers get to know each other—and that increase in social interactions can also improve collaboration.
Thinking about pets in your office? This pet-friendly infographic can help demonstrate the benefits.
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Pets @ Work
Benefits of a Pet-Friendly Workplace
A 2015 survey found only about 8% of American workplaces allow employees to bring pets to work.
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bringing pets to the office can:
improve employee health
- Multiple studies show that the presence of friendly animals can reduce heart rate and blood pressure
- Simply petting an animal lowers blood pressure and cholesterol
- Viewing fishing tanks can lead to noticeable reductions in blood pressure and heart rate
- One study found dog and cat parents made fewer annual doctor visits than non-pet parents
- Research shows petting an animal can significantly increase salivary immunoglobulin A(IgA), an indicator of good immune system functioning.
- Multiple studies link interactions with animals–like cats and dogs–and observation of animals–like fish and birds–to positive changes on self-reported anxiety and calmness
- Research shows interaction with a friendly companion animal, specifically a dog, positively affects endocrine responses, including changes in the levels of:
- Cortisol: often called “the stress hormone”
- Norepinephrine: A stress hormone that triggers the fight-or-flight response
- Epinephrine: Aka adrenaline
- Serotonin: A neurotransmitter that regulates mood, sleep, arousal, appetite, and more
- A study of a pet-friendly retail business found employees’ self-reported stress levels declined when their dogs were present
- Stress increased for non-pet parents and for pet parents who did not bring their dogs to work
- Stress significantly increased during the day when pet parents left their dogs at home
increase productivity & promote creativity
- Dogs remind us to get up and take breaks, which have been shown to improve employee morale, productivity, and focus
- Breaks with dogs often involve walks outside
- Research shows walking, especially outdoors, increase creative ideation in real time and shortly after
- Employees don’t have to worry about their pets going too many hours at home without bathroom or exercise breaks
- They may be able to stay and enjoy office happy hours or other activities rather than rush home and be with their pet
enhance socialization among co-workers
- Multiple studies show pets can act as catalysts for human social interactions
- Just being in the presence of pets can increase the frequency of social interactions, especially with strangers
- A series of workplace experiments showed employees were more likely to trust each other and collaborate more effectively when dogs were present in a group
Bringing your pet to work not only benefits you and your furry (or non-furry friend), but also your employer. Pets can add to the sense of workplace community, act as a conversation starter and provide comic relief. And a pet-friendly policy can boost team morale, reduce stress and serve as a differentiating employee perk.
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