Everyone loves their pet(s), and when at home they provide great comfort, are a lot of fun and offer an outlet for stress relief. In fact, there is actual scientific data that says people who own cats and dogs have consistently lower cholesterol ratings, lower blood pressure and a lower heart rate. All of these things contribute to an increased lifespan, which might be the best reason to own a pet.
All of these life-enhancing qualities are proven for pet owners, and if there are benefits like that at home, the question is, can pets boost productivity in the workplace? Of course in some cases, like factory work or construction jobs, it would be wholly impractical to take a pet to work, but what if you had a liberal work policy, like say in an office setting, where pets were welcome guests. Would that make a difference?
Working From Home
Although there is no definitive research about pets in a home workspace, science does know that pet ownership relieves stress, and as stated above, reduces blood pressure and other health benefits. Pets also need to be fed and walked during the day, and that makes you take a break, stretch your legs and re-set. All of those things help your state of mind and keep you in a good mood, and if you are in a good place day after day, it stands to reason that your productivity would increase. However, does that also equate to the workplace outside of your home?
Why do Pets Relieve Stress?
Let’s break this down a bit. It is scientifically proven that pets relieve stress, but why does this happen? There is actually a very simple reason; when petting your pet, your brain releases the “feel good” hormones of serotonin, oxytocin and prolactin. These hormones are known to help with depression and stress relief. In fact, studies reveal that there is actually a decrease in the stress hormone cortisol, which also regulates your craving for food and reduces a taste for carbohydrates. That means you may be willing to pass on that sugary donut instead of eating it and potentially getting drowsy as the sugar rushes into your system. That keeps you awake and alert, and you’ll just feel better. And as stated above, when you feel better and are in a good mood, your productivity increases.
Bringing Pets to Work
Okay, so all of this is substantiated for a single person working at home. But do all of these things translate to say, an office setting with several people around? The answer is simply, yes! Here’s why.
When you pet your pets, the good feeling hormones are released. Amazingly enough, when other people do the same, it releases the same brain chemicals. When people are petting your own fur buddies, they start to feel good, and when everyone in the workplace feels good, it is a much nicer space to be in. Plus, not only does this reduce stress, which is already proven to have many health benefits, but by interaction with your dog or cat, you will be growing positive relationships with people around your workspace, adding to the overall good tidings. And people that get along together means they work better together, have a tendency to bounce ideas off of one another, are more willing to ask for help or guidance, which automatically adds to the productivity quotient. As one business owner says, “A happy staff is a productive staff,” and that pretty much sums it up right there.
Of course, before even suggesting that you want to bring your pet to the workplace, consideration towards others must come first. You would never want to bring in a sick pet, and you would need to check around to make sure that nobody has any specific allergies towards the pet you want to bring in. Also, if you have a very hyperactive pet, it may actually disrupt productivity with your pet running around all over, becoming annoying and getting under everyone’s feet. That would actually add to the stress level. Not good.
Already, nearly 17% of all businesses allow pets in the workplace, while 23% of employees agree that pets should be allowed there. 70 million people believe that having pets at work reduces stress, and almost half of all workers believe that having pets at work increases productivity.
So if you can bring your pet to work, abide by all of the considerations noted, make sure you have the needed supplies available, like food and water, bowls, dishes, a leash and litter boxes for cats, and your working environment, for you and your coworkers, will be a nicer and more productive place to be employed at.