Bringing pet dogs to work can reduce stress and increase job satisfaction for other employees, according to a new small study.
The study consisted on 75 employees and found that those who brought their dogs to work were less stressed as the day went on compared to those who didn’t, and over a week the researchers compared the stress levels, feelings about support from and commitment to the company.
Researchers measured cortisol levels by using saliva samples during the day of those who brought their dogs to work, had a pet but didn’t bring their dogs to work as well as those who didn’t have pets.
While the findings show that there was no difference in stress levels between the three groups in the morning, it was found that during the course of the work day, stress levels appeared to decline for employees with their dogs present while stress levels increased for non-pet owners and dog owners who did not bring their pets.
They also noted that stress rose significantly during the day when owner left their dogs at home compared to the days when they brought them to work.
"Dogs in the workplace can make a positive difference," he said. "The differences in perceived stress between days the dog was present and absent were significant. The employees as a whole had higher job satisfaction than industry norms," lead study author Randolph Barker, professor of management in the VCU School of Business, said in a statement.
Professor Barker said that having dogs at the workplace may contribute positively to employee performance and satisfaction, and lower stress, which has previously been shown to contribute to employee absenteeism and burnout leading to a significant loss of productivity.
"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.
The findings are published in the March issue of the International Journal of Workplace Health Management.