“Bring your dog to work” day has become a popular date on the calendar. It might seem far-fetched to imagine our furry friends in a professional setting but pets contribute significantly to stress management which can, in turn, boost workplace productivity. Physical acts like stroking and tickling pets, as well as a sense of unconditional love experienced by many pet-owners, all have a calming effect on people coping with stress, anxiety and depression.
These benefits are easily transferrable in the workplace. Research confirms that employees with access to pets at work had lower stress levels, lower blood pressure and lower heart rates than those who didn’t. Particularly in jobs which require sitting for long periods before a computer, pets can also encourage physical activity in form of walks. Such breaks help us relax and improve our concentration when we return to our tasks, in addition to offering a range of health benefits for the back, eyes and overall fitness.
Furthermore, dogs, fish and even birds have been effective in providing a positive rehabilitative influence in prisons. Studies show that prisoners who have been allowed to keep pets whilst in prison have been more sociable, less violent and more cooperative than their counterparts who have not. Many countries including Australia, the U.S. and Canada, have introduced schemes using pets to calm prisoners and by so doing have increased their nurturing and social skills. Evidence exists to show the impact our pets can have to provide stress relief in our otherwise hectic lives.
Does your workplace allow you to bring pets to work, especially on days like today? If not, why not?