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Depression and stress reduced with pets in the workplace


Could man’s best friend also be a best friend in the workplace? It appears that pooches in workplaces reduce stress, depression and create a more satisfying job experience for employees.

According to a Virginia Commonwealth University study, stress is a major contributor to employee absenteeism, morale and burnout. There is a significant loss of productivity and resources when employees are depressed. In a preliminary study, researchers found that dogs in the office may create a softening effect on stress of the work environment for the owners and their co-workers. The job becomes more satisfying.

Researchers compared dog-filled and dog-less environments. They examined employees who brought pets to work, the ones that did not and the employees around the pets. They measured their stress levels and areas of job satisfaction, organizational commitment and support.

“Although preliminary, this study provides the first quantitative study of the effects of employees’ pet dogs in the workplace setting on employee stress, job satisfaction, support and commitment,” said principal investigator Randolph Barker, PhD, professor of management in the VCU School of Business. “Dogs in the workplace can make a positive difference. The differences in perceived stress between days the dog was present and absent were significant. The employees as a whole had higher job satisfaction then industry norms.”

Self-reported stress was down when pets came to work. The researchers also noted an increase in exercise by walking the dogs and an increased sense of community as co-workers asked to walk the dogs and stopped to comment on the pets in general.

“The effect of pets in reducing the impact of stress and enhancing communication found in other settings may extend to the workplace,” concluded Barker.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, International Journal of Workplace Health Management

photo by John Nyboer

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