Friday is Take Your Dog to Work Day (sponsored by Pet Sitters International), and studies have shown that having pets in the workplace has several benefits for both the workers and the employers.
According to the Los Angeles Times, a study has shown that employees who bring their pets to work tend to have a lower stress level by the end of the day. Workplace stress has been associated with negative physical and psychological outcomes. The study found that interacting with pets lowered the levels of cortisol in the employees' bodies. This stress-related hormone can lead to high cholesterol levels, hypertension and depression.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that having pets can help reduce blood pressure, decrease loneliness, help to lower cholesterol levels and encourage physical activity. The better an employee feels on a regular basis, the more they are able to stay focused and produce quality work. In addition to the calming effect dogs have on people, taking your dog to work with you is helpful in socializing him by getting him used to new faces, smells and environments.
In addition to these health benefits, pets in the office can:
Increase productivity and provide inspiration: Having pets nearby can help keep an employee relaxed and happy, making work more enjoyable.
Improve job satisfaction: A survey at Nestle Purina, which started a "Pets at Work" program 15 years ago, shows bringing pets to the office is a big benefit. The company also believes it helps with employee retention.
Encourage co-worker interaction: Pets add another layer of interaction between co-workers, and otherwise quiet employees can become more engaged when talking to a co-worker about their pets.
Promote healthy break time: Dog owners tend to spend their breaks walking and caring for their dogs, getting them on their feet. Even just taking a few minutes to play with a pet can help provide a mental break and lower stress.
Project healthy work-life balance: For many people, pets are a huge part of their lives. Companies that encourage pets in the workplace show that they care about their employees and the balance between work and home.
How to get your pooch ready for his or her big day
To help owners make sure their four-legged friend is ready for his office debut, the American Kennel Club offers the following tips for those planning to take their dog to the office:
Ask questions: Talk to your co-workers before you bring in your dog. Ask if anyone is allergic to or afraid of dogs. You want to make sure those around you are comfortable.
Survey the scene: Make sure to pet-proof your space before your dog arrives. Keep all cabinets, drawers and trash cans secure. Remove anything smaller than a tennis ball, items with sharp edges or anything that could be a choking hazard. Cover exposed electrical outlets and wires to prevent your dog from chewing them and hurting himself.
Good dog: Your dog should be on his best behavior at the office, which means he should be well-trained and housebroken. Make sure your dog is socialized and safe around strangers, too. There will most likely be extra attention paid to your dog and strange noises associated with an office, so you want to make sure he's comfortable with these things.
Bring the necessities: Bring a water bowl, quiet chew toys, treats, cleanup bags and a leash.
Purina provides five suggestions for pet owners to help create a welcoming, pet-friendly program at their workplace. For more information, visit petsatwork.com.
For more tips on preparing to take your dog to work, visit akcdoglovers.com.