Feeling stressed at work? Consider checking your office policies about having pets in the workplace. Having your favorite four-legged friend at work with you is a great way to reduce stress.
Nearly three-quarters of U.S. households have a pet. As these numbers continue to grow, more workers are requesting to bring their pets to work. An American Pet Product Manufacturers Association (APPMA) study found that nearly one in every five American companies allows pets. Even big companies like Amazon, Ben & Jerry’s, Build-A-Bear Headquarters, and Google have opened their doors to their employees’ pets. And this is great considering that pets in the office boost job satisfaction, productivity, communication, and lowers stress levels among employees.
Encourage your company to allow pets in your office by discussing these three reasons as to why pets can help reduce stress and increase health and well-being at work.
Pets Increase Optimism
Having pets in your office lowers your stress and boosts your happiness. In a Virginia Commonwealth University study, researchers found that participants who brought their pets to work experienced lower levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) throughout the day than those that did not bring their pets to work. Experts have also found that interacting with animals increases humans’ hormonal levels of oxytocin (the “feel-good hormone”). Oxytocin can induce feelings of optimism, increase self-esteem, reduce social fears and lowers stress.
Pets Contribute to Healthy Office Habits
Pets can keep employees energized, healthy, and less stressed. In the same Virginia Commonwealth University study, researchers found that having pets in the office encouraged workers to take mental breaks. The participants would pet the animals, which is a healthier stress-reducing technique than “going outside for a smoke or buying unhealthy snacks from the vending machine.” Office pets encouraged workers to take their lunch break instead of working through their break and increasing their stress. Participants also took walks with their dogs during their breaks, which is great since exercise can reduce stress.
Pets Assist in Office Unity
Workplace negativity, like office politics and gossip, can cause stress. Fortunately, positive office interactions can lower stress and having pets around the office can help break the ice. In a Central Michigan University study, researchers tested teamwork in groups that worked with an office dog and groups that did not. They found that teams with office dogs were more likely to rank their teammates as trustworthy, cooperative, and friendly than the participants in offices that didn’t have office dogs.