Pets at office can increase productivity, reduce stress, research says

Pets can also bring employees closer together, according to psychologist

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There are two facts about pets and the workplace that people might not believe.

One, is that more and more companies actually are allowing pets in the office.

Whether that means cats, dogs, fish or other pets that hang out in the office all day alongside the employees, it's certainly becoming more common, according to Business Insider.

The article said big companies such as Google often allow workers to take dogs to the office, and it's an even more common practice in the Netherlands.

The second surprising item here is that having a pet in the office while working can help relieve stress and increase productivity, according to a study done by Virginia Commonwealth University.

The study, conducted at a North Carolina company, measured saliva samples and found employees who brought their dogs to work had lower stress hormone levels than those who didn’t.

The article on Business Insider touched on the ways that having pets in the office helps -- for example, when tense situations arise with the boss, it allows employees to escape with the pet for a quick walk, or just having the animal to cuddle up with and provide support can be helpful.

“It’s definitely good for the work atmosphere to have a dog in the office,” said Marie-Jose Enders, who studies the relationship between animals and humans at the Open University in England. “Not only does your cortisol level drop when you stroke a dog, (but) you also produce more of the hormone oxytocin, which makes you feel more relaxed and happy.”

In addition to being a stress reliever and motivator to increase productivity, pets can also provide a way to bring employees closer together.

Psychologist Lotte Spijkerman said in the article that pets can be an icebreaker between employees or in business transactions.

“We know from psychology that if you find someone nicer, you move with him or her faster,” he said. “And if someone looks like you, because he also has a dog, for example, it could be easier to make a deal.”

Pets in the office? Believe it or not, it might actually be a doggone good idea for employee happiness and productivity. Go tell your boss!

About the Author:

Keith is a member of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which produces content for all the company's news websites.