In a recent survey, seven out of ten participants named stress as the number one hazard at work. According to the Huffington Post, stress is reaching record levels in British work places and is becoming a major problem for the workers’ health. However, four in every ten workers feel as though stress is not managed well in their workplace. So, what can your company or business do to manage stress in your office?
Animals have long been man’s bests friends. Cats, for instance, have been introduced to nursing home residents as a means to cheer them up, and in most cases, the felines brought smiles to the residents’ faces; also, horses are known to help people with psychological problems, so the question is, why not bring pets into the workplace? (Although we're not suggesting you should bring a horse into the workplace..)
The Power of the Pooch
A study published in the International Journal of Workplace Management looked at 75 staff employees from a company that allows people to bring their dogs to work. Over the course of a week, researchers tested and compared the stress hormone levels of those that brought in their dogs, those that didn’t bring in their dogs to work, and employees who don’t own pets. They found that in the morning, there was no difference between the groups. However, during the workday, stress levels declined for employees who had their dogs at work, increased for non-pet owners and dog owners who didn’t bring their pooch to work.
Petting Animals Releases Good Hormones
One study looked at the effects of petting a dog on the human body. The research found that a few minutes of stroking a dog releases a lot of positive hormones such as serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin. These “feel good” hormones help lower blood pressure and reduce stress levels. Petting a dog is a relaxing physiological mechanism that is comparable to eating chocolate.
Taking Care of a Pet at Work Increases Social Interactions and Exercise
Other studies have shown that taking care of a pet can also increase exercise as well as social interactions with people around you. One company found that letting employee’s dogs come to work helped them meet other employees. It also increased their activity levels more than an employee-wide workout program. These factors help dog owners increase their energy levels and reduce the amount of stress they feel at work.
Pets won’t only increase the cuteness factor at your office, but it will also help alleviate stress and improve productivity. All in all, the benefits of having pets in the workplace are manifold, and hopefully, more and more corporations will come to realize the positive effects of this useful trend.