Our agency has been welcoming our furry counterparts into the office since, well… ever. We really love our dogs. But our dog-friendly atmosphere has more benefits than just being able to spend all day with our best friends. About 20% of U.S. businesses allow pets in the workplace, and have been reaping the benefits just like us.
Having pets around has been proven time and time again to reduce stress levels and promote happiness and relaxation. Petting or interacting with an animal has shown to increase oxytocin. Often called the “love” hormone, it facilitates attachment and trust between individuals and can help regulate fear and anxiety. Interacting with animals has also shown to decrease the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. These are the same reasons that they appear in hospitals as therapy animals and on university campuses around exam time. A study from Virginia Commonwealth University found that in a dog-friendly office, stress levels were lowest among dog owners that brought their pets to work, highest among employees without dogs, and dog-owning employees that didn’t bring their pets to work experienced a spike of stress levels in the late afternoon, with this spike in cortisol attributed to worrying about their pets at home.
People also communicate and connect better. So many interactions happen that never would have taken place without pets in the office. Dogs interact with each other, which makes their owners interact. Someone walks into someone else’s office to pet their dog, or people will go for a walk during their lunch break with their pets. These new interactions foster conversation between people. Whether it’s work related or not, people are communicating and connecting better, which makes teamwork improve and productivity go up. And with all of these factors in place, morale rises significantly.
The benefits of having pets in the office probably never ends. We do it because we love having them here, but we certainly aren’t complaining about the other benefits.
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