Dogs in the Workplace
Dogs in the workplace are beginning to make a positive difference. June 22 has become “Take Your Dog to Work Day,” developed first in 1999. It is sponsored by the Pet Sitters International.
A preliminary study that was published in the March issue of the International Journal of Workplace Health Management reported that dogs in the workplace reduce the impact of stress during the workday. Studies show dogs in the workplace reduce stress and create an enjoyable and satisfying job experience. At one time, many places were off-limits to dogs … today they are more than welcome as part of a growing trend. Most companies see it as an “employee-friendly” move that is good for business, according to the Sacramento Beeonline newspaper.
According to the study manager Professor Randolph Barker, employees with dogs reported less stress as the day progressed, while those without dogs reported an increase in stress. Meanwhile, the dogs appeared to increase employee interaction and communication, much more than businesses that did not allow dogs to be present with their owners.
“Pet presence may serve as a low-cost, wellness intervention readily available to many organizations and may enhance organizational satisfaction and perceptions of support. Of course, it is important to have policies in place to ensure only friendly, clean and well-behaved pets are present in the workplace,” Barker said.
Most businesses that allow dogs have a special dog-free area for employees with allergies, dislike dogs, or are afraid of them. “There’s a balancing act that companies have to go through,” Barker said. But many non-dog owners will choose to walk somebody else’s dog as a stress relief during work hours instead of taking a smoking break.
Dogster.com and Simplyhired.com completed online surveys and found that 66% of dog owners said they would gladly work longer hours if they could bring their dog to work with them. Also, 32% of dog owners said they would take a pay cut if their dogs could accompany them to work. Over 49% of employees said they would switch jobs to be able to take their pet to work, while 70% said they considered a dog-friendly job an important employee benefit.
Studies about dogs in the workplace have found that stress in the workplace causes large numbers of employee absenteeism, loss of productivity and resources; along with employee morale and burnout. According to Barker, further research with larger sample sizes within the organizational setting is needed to replicate the findings of this initial study.