Shake off the stress of the day
Occasionally bringing my bulldog, Bella, to work has been a great convenience when I don’t have a dog walker lined up.
For the most part, my coworkers seem to really enjoy having her in the office, too, and it turns out there’s new research suggesting pets in the office can help reduce stress and improve morale.
In a study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University studied the effects of dogs in the office on employee stress levels at Replacements, Ltd., in Greensboro, N.C. The company, a retailer of new and used dinnerware, allows employees to bring their dogs to work on a regular basis.
The researchers divided the team of approximately 450 employees into three groups-those who bring their dog to work, those who have a dog but do not bring him or her to work, and those who do not have a dog. During the study, the researchers took saliva samples from the employees in the mornings to measure stress hormone levels, and they used surveys to monitor employees’ self-reported stress levels throughout the day.
The researchers found no significant difference between stress hormone levels across the three groups in the mornings. However, they found that self-reported stress levels for employees who brought their dog to work dropped throughout the day, while self-reported stress levels for those who did not bring their dog to work or do not have a dog increased throughout the day.
Anecdotal feedback from the surveys also suggests that most of the employees (whether they bring their own dog to work or not) feel positive about having dogs in the workplace and believe their presence can help boost morale and relieve stress.
So, if you work for a company that allows dogs in the office, and you have a well-behaved pooch, bring him or her with you to work from time to time, and share the stress-relieving benefits with your coworkers!