From: David A Gabel, ENN
Published March 30, 2012 09:22 AM

The Value of Bringing Your Dog to Work

Certain workplaces can be very stressful for employees. There are deadlines to meet, rules to follow, and social minefields to get through. As an effective way to relieve stress, a new study has come out that says employees should bring their dogs to work. Not only will having man's best friend around help you get through the day, it will also help others around you. Even on the most difficult day at the office, people cannot help brightening up when a colleague brings their dog in, at least those who are not allergic.

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The scientific research of canine benefits in the workplace was conducted by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). They conducted surveys of employees who brought in their dogs, employees who did not bring their dogs, and employees without pets. Questions were asked regarding stress, job satisfaction, organizational commitment, and support.

"Dogs in the workplace can make a positive difference," said principal investigator Randolph T. Barker, Ph.D. "The differences in perceived stress between days the dog was present and absent were significant. The employees as a whole had higher job satisfaction than industry norms."

The surveys were conducted at Replacements, Ltd., a service/manufacturing/retail company in Greensboro, NC. About 550 people work there and about 25 dogs are present at the facility each day. The survey took place over one week where participants were asked to complete surveys at different times of the day, and to submit saliva samples to test for stress hormones.

In the morning, stress levels were similar for all employees. As the day wore on, the workers with their dogs reported lower stress levels, while others had higher stress levels. The difference of stress in dog owners who brought their dogs in and those who did not was significant.

The researchers noticed employees without a dog asking to take other people's dogs on walks. They found that unique dog-related communication may contribute to worker satisfaction and performance.

"Pet presence may serve as a low-cost, wellness intervention readily available to many organizations and may enhance organizational satisfaction and perceptions of support," Barker said. "Of course, it is important to have policies in place to ensure only friendly, clean and well-behaved pets are present in the workplace."

The study has been published in the journal International Journal of Workplace Health Management.

Office dog image via Shutterstock

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