In April, a new member joined our family. Another four-legged member, to make three dogs in our home. My two older dogs are large Labs named Betty and Blanche. This new dog is a petite Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Beatrice.
I love all my dogs equally. But Beatrice gets special privileges because her size and demeanor allow for her to accompany me places. And the office is my favorite place to bring her.
There is not an official pet policy at our office. I am sure one would quickly be invoked should too many animals start appearing and distracting frequently. But for now, Beatrice comes in about three times a week and I like to think she has become our unofficial office mascot.
I like to call Beatrice my service dog. She makes my day more enjoyable and less stressful. But she also helps reduce the stress of those who work with me and around me. I am not alone in this observation. Studies show that dogs in the workplace may lower stress, and make for a more productive-and enjoyable-company environment. While national polls indicate that less than twenty percent of all workplaces allow pets, well-documented evidence points to the benefits of animals in the office.
The specific ways that pets can improve health and wellness in the work place:
- Stress reduction. Research that has shown the positive effect that pets can have on cardiovascular health, autonomic stress responses, and blood pressure.
- Forced breaks. Dogs need potty breaks and walks during the day, and their humans are required to take them out. Without this trigger, too many of us would stay at our desks for hours on end. Studies have demonstrated the value of taking frequent, short breaks as a way of increasing productivity, and pets make us do just that.
- Friendlier environments. The same instinct that leads you to spontaneously break out into puppy-talk around your pooch may lead you to be more amicable to your colleagues and your customers. In pet-friendly workplaces, employees reported feeling friendlier to one another and finding that customers had a more positive impression of the company.
- Improved staff morale and worker productivity. People don’t mind working longer hours when they don’t have to run home to walk their dogs. Happier employees result in enhanced job performance.
- Increase in sales reported by store owners who take their dogs to work.
- Dogs can serve as a crime deterrent.
- Source, source, source
I never thought I would be the “bring-your-dog-to-work” person. And though I sometimes feel a bit like Dr. Evil as Beatrice sleeps in my lap and I stroke her back as I sit in meetings, I hope that I will always be a “bring-your-dog-to-work” person.