Bring Your Dog To Work! Research Shows Office Pets Can Help Reduce Stress

Bringing your dogs and cats to work can have a positive effect on employees, even boosting productivity in the office

dog at work
Photo: Getty

Dogs aren’t just man’s best friend, they might be man’s best coworker too.

“It’s definitely good for the work atmosphere to have a dog in the office,” Marie-José Enders, who studies the relationship between animals and humans at England’s Open University, recently told Business Insider.

“Not only does your cortisol level drop when you stroke a dog; you also produce more of the hormone oxytocin, which makes you feel more relaxed and happy,” Enders added.

Of course, the benefits to having a dog at the office don’t stop there.

“If your boss is giving you a hard time, a dog can make it easier to put certain situations into perspective. You can just take a bit of space and walk the dog,” Enders added. “An animal at work makes people more motivated — they like their work more and they experience less stress.”

If you’re a cat lover, don’t panic — felines have roughly the same stress-relieving benefits as pooches!

Behavioral psychologist Lotte Spijkerman went on to tell Business Insider that both animals can “reduce stress and increase productivity … because they interact with you of their own accord.”

“When they pop over to your work station, it’s a good reminder that you might need to take a break,” Spijkerman explained.

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A 2012 study performed by by Virginia Commonwealth University reached a similar conclusion.

As part of the study, researchers measured saliva samples from several groups of employees: those who had brought their dogs to work, those who had not, and those who did not have any pets.

The results showed that while all three of the groups had similar levels of “baseline” stress, at the end of the day, employees who did not bring their dogs to work “had significantly higher stress” levels.

Additionally, on days when employees did not bring their dogs to work, the “owner’s stress increased thought the day, mirroring the pattern of the NODOG group.”

These days dogs are increasingly becoming a part of office culture, including at major companies, like Google and Amazon.

Just last year, Amazon wrote a blog on its in-house website announcing that approximately 6,000 pooches shared their work space with humans at the business’ headquarters in Seattle.

“Having dogs in our workplace is an amazing treat. They make employees smile, and we’re proud this is such a uniquely Amazonian tradition. It’s truly ingrained in our company culture,” said Lara Hirschfield, Amazon’s ‘Woof Pack’ Manager. “Our employees love bringing their dogs to work and love meeting their co-workers’ dogs … Amazon has been dog-friendly since Day 1. Our dogs add to the fun, dynamic energy of our workplace.”

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