Taking your dog to work is a stress-buster, finds business study

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Taking your dog to work can be a stress buster that leads to wellness.
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In an important study that all employers should note, business researchers find positive health benefits for allowing people to take their dog to work. According to the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) study, taking your dog to work could be good for you and your co-workers. Your pooch might even like going to work with you instead of lying around on the couch with the cat.

Four-legged friends at work good for productivity

For the study, VCU researchers measured employee stress levels from saliva samples at a company that had 20 to 30 dogs on the premises each day. The workers answered survey questions at regular intervals.

Randolph Barker, a professor of management at Virginia Commonwealth University's business school in Richmond and colleagues performed the study at Replacements Ltd.in Greensboro, North Carolina. The company has approximately 550 employees and has been allowing dogs to come to work with their owners for over 15 years.

The researchers looked at 3 groups of 76 employees – those who don’t own pets, those that do but leave their pets at home and a third group that brought their pooches to work.

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People who brought their dog to work reported lower stress levels by the end of the day, though there was no different in saliva cortisol levels among the groups. Compared to two other group death levels were 11% lower among the employees who have their dogs with them at work. Not having a dog was associated with 70% higher stress levels, based on the surveys that were taken four times throughout the day.

Employees who didn’t have dogs were observed asking employees who did if they could take their co-workers pet for a walk.

At the company dogs can be seen napping at their owner’s feet in the call center, in in work areas where employees handle glassware like crystal and china and even in corporate offices.

Sandra Barker, director of the university's Center for Human-Animal Interaction co-authored the study, which though preliminary, suggests having dogs or other pets in the workplace is a stress-buster that can lead to better wellness and increased productivity and enhanced employee communication. The researchers plan to study whether dogs enjoy going to work with their owners.

Source
VCU News Center
March 30, 2012

Image credit: Wikimedia commons

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