Industry Leaders Reveal Dogs in the Workplace Reduce Stress and Increase Happiness


It has never been a secret that dog is man’s best friend. However, said man (or woman) typically spends 40+ hours a week in an office, sans ‘best friend’. The good news is, companies are catching on to the trend that allowing dogs in the workplace may be the tool required to reduce stress and increase satisfaction amongst employees.

For business owners or managers debating whether this trend is rooted in any data—and more importantly, if it would have a positive impact on your company— we’ll share what some of the industry’s thought leaders have to say about dogs in the workplace. We’ll let heavyweights like Entrepreneur, the Economist, and NPR weigh in on what all the fuss is about when it comes to letting the dogs into the office.

Who thought an office dog was a good idea?

Therapy dogs are a popular form of rehabilitation and are seen across a number of organizations working with patients dealing with trauma to those with disabilities. Thankfully, extensive research has been done to unveil the correlation between therapy animals, increased happiness, and reduced stress.

In recent years, the positive impact of dogs has been popularized, and companies are leveraging the animals as a way to boost morale, happiness, satisfaction, and dedication. A new survey conducted by the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association shows nearly one in five companies allow pets at work. So, let’s take a look at why so many companies find themselves with furry friends running around the halls.

According to The Economist,
"Having dogs in the office can enhance collaboration amongst employees."

The article discussed a study that measured the correlation between allowing dogs in the workplace and effective collaboration within teams. This study brought individuals together in a group setting, and they were then given a team challenge that required positive communication and collaboration tactics. The study found that “those who had had a dog to slobber and pounce on them ranked their team-mates more highly on measures of trust, team cohesion and intimacy than those who had not.”

According to Entrepreneur,
"Dogs can have a significant impact on employee stress levels."

In reference to a study by Virginia Commonwealth University, “Employees who had their pets at their workplace showed an 11 percent drop in their stress levels by the end of the workday as compared to a 70 percent spike in stress levels of employees who left their pets at home.” 

According to NPR,
"Even non-dog owners experienced reduced stress when dogs were allowed at work."

This article cited a study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management. They examined three groups of employees: 1. Employees that own dogs and didn’t bring them to work, 2) Employees that own dogs and brought them to work and, 3) Employees who do not own dogs.

The study found similar responses regardless of group, “People who took their dogs to work had lower stress levels through the work day and the employees who hadn't brought their dogs to work said their stress levels increased through the work day. The employees who hadn't brought their dogs to work said their stress levels increased through the work day. So did the non-pet owners. But the dog owners said they stayed mellow as the day went on. The researchers say that dogs in the workplace may help buffer work stress, and make the job more satisfying for non-dog owners, too."

According to the Huffington Post,
"Allowing dogs at the workplace will lead to increased morale and better retention rates."

The Post discussed a survey conducted by the Banfield Pet Hospital to measure the correlation between happiness at work and a pet-friendly office policy. “Overwhelmingly, responses indicate that pet-friendly workplaces are viewed as highly positive, boosting morale, contributing to talent retention and providing employers with a competitive edge in the recruitment process.” 

In another article by NPR,
"Simply seeing a dog could enhance cooperation amongst co-workers."

NPR highlighted a study on dogs and cooperation, "They tend to see that the dogs increase co-worker cooperation and interaction, particularly when people would go by and see the dog just to visit," says Randolph Barker, a professor of management at Virginia Commonwealth University. 

Here are some more quick stats from the American Pet Products Survey:
  • 75 million Americans believe having pets in the workplace makes people happier
  • 70 million Americans believe having pets in the workplace reduces stress
  • 47 million Americans believe having pets in the workplace leads to a more creative environment
  • 37 million believe having pets in the workplace decreases absenteeism
  • 41 million believe having pets in the workplace helps co-workers get along better
  • 46 million believe having pets in the workplace creates a more productive work environment
  • 23 million believe having pets in the workplace decreases smoking in the workplace
  • 34 million people who bring their pets to the workplace work longer hours
  • The most common pet brought to work is a dog (76%), while 24% bring a small animal and 15% bring a cat

Still wondering if you should switch your office to a pet-friendly workplace? Take a survey, do a trial day, or maybe just wait this trend out if it’s not for you. If dogs wouldn’t mesh well with the office there are plenty of other ways to increase workplace satisfaction. Check out the blogs below for more on workplace happiness!

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