dog at desk with computer

Bringing Pets to Work Lowers Stress

It’s long been known that owning a pet is beneficial for your overall health. Now, a new scientific study is extending the good news: taking your pet to work with you measurably lowers your stress.

A study by Professor Randolph Barker (no really, that’s his name. I can’t make this stuff up!), out of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business, shows that not only do employees who bring their pets to work report feeling better, but their cortisol (stress hormone) levels were significantly lowered as well. The study examined employees at a retail and manufacturing firm in Greensboro,North Carolina. This company has allowed employees to bring their dogs to work for the past fifteen years, so the experience of having wagging tails around all day isn’t a novelty as it might be if there was just a once-a-year “Bring your pet to work day.”

From Time Magazine:

Overall, Barker found that employees who brought their pets to work had the lowest stress, with scores on a standardized test that were consistently 10 to 20 points lower than those of employees who didn’t bring their dogs to work or who didn’t own pets at all. Dog owners who brought their pets to work showed slightly higher stress levels on days they weren’t allowed to bring their companion with them.

Interestingly, those with the highest stress scores were pet owners who did not bring their dog to work. Their scores were more than twice as high as employees who brought their animals to the workplace. […]

“If people feel stress in the workplace, typically research shows that’s linked to various behavioral outcomes — lower job performance, poor decision making, work accidents and aggressive behavior. Having animals around can literally be a buffer these outcomes and may help individuals cope much more effectively with situations that can cause stress in the workplace,” says Barker.

The data make the logical conclusion clearer with each passing study: the more time you spend with your pets, the better you feel. Even if your employer doesn’t allow dogs at work, taking your dog for a walk before (or after) work is better for both of you. The “together time” and the exercise will do you good!

Are you able to take your pet to work with you? Let me know in the comments below.

Photo credit: Dog at work: Varie, Getty Images

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