We all work harder than ever these days – with longer hours becoming ever more common. And there’s not always a pay rise to look forward to at the end of the year either! Just one more reason people get stressed in the workplace. Combating that stress isn’t easy. But recent research has shown that having dogs in the workplace can make a big difference to the health and mood of staff.
That may sound surprising to some, but the fact is, putting a pooch in the workplace (especially an office environment) is a strategy based on sound science. And here are just a few reasons why.
Increasing the feel-good factor
One of the main ways to combat stress is to encourage the release of endorphins – our body’s natural feel-good chemicals. Research in the US has shown that stroking a pet (particularly a cat or dog) can trigger for this process. Some zoologists believe that’s because it taps into a primal need to act out ancient grooming rituals. What is known for sure is that increased endorphins can reduce anxiety and – as a result – act as preventative measure against all too common stress-related illnesses such as heart attack and stroke. Which should give anyone paws for thought!
A welcome distraction from the grind
We all know how easy it is to get immersed in work and miss out on breaks or a proper lunch. The trouble is, while it may mean hitting that deadline or target, it can mean hitting your health too. Tired, tight muscles or strained eyes are not good for anyone’s productivity levels. Having a dog on hand means an extra incentive and focus for a well-earned break from the day-to-day grind.
Mood-enhancing and team building
It’s remarkable to think that many major organisations still spend silly money on elaborate team-building exercises. If only they’d discovered how much man’s best friend can influence how work colleagues get on. Studies have shown that with a dog in the workplace, the collective mood is enhanced and people are more inclined to co-operate to get the best result for the ‘team’.
But, some things to bear in mind…
So, dogs in the workplace: a good thing? Well, there is strong evidence to show it offer real benefits. But remember, some breeds work better than others (quiet calm types of dog work best!). And of course, practically, you need to make provision for the animal’s food, water and toilet requirements.
David Grieves knows a lot about dogs because he has been the proud owner of a golden retriever for years and regularly takes his dog to work. David work dealing with car accident compensation claims in Glasgow.