You would be happier and more productive with your pet by your side at the office. Pet lovers everywhere know in their heart of hearts that the happiness part is 100% true, but if your boss balks at the idea that pets increase productivity, just point them toward a 2012 study by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University.
The VCU research followed employees at Greensboro, N.C.-based business Replacements, Ltd., where about 20-30 dogs mingle daily with the company’s 450 employees. Over the course of a work week, the researchers asked participants to fill out surveys and collect saliva samples. While the different groups of employees studied had similar amounts of stress hormones in their saliva in the morning, at the beginning of the work day, employees who brought their dogs with them to the office reported decreased stress as the day went on and employees without pets reported that their stress increased. What’s more, the employees who sometimes brought pets reported increased stress on days when they left their animals at home.
Less stress means more headspace to dig in and get work done which means greater productivity for employers. And, in addition to increasing productivity, pet-friendly offices breed friendlier humans as well.
"[Employers] 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," Randolph Barker, a professor of management at Virginia Commonwealth University who was the principal investigator in the 2012 study, told NPR.
VCU’s findings aren’t a fluke: A 2010 study from Central Michigan University also found that dog-friendly offices foster better working relationships and more trust between coworkers. With findings like these, it’s no surprise that more and more workplaces across the country are moving toward pet-friendly policies. NPR reports that the percentage of pet-friendly workplaces is at 7 percent, up from 5 percent just five years ago.
Seven percent is great, but we still have a long way to go. If your workplace is one of the 93 percent of offices that are still woefully pet-free, send these studies to your boss, STAT...you know, to increase productivity.