Friday 6 May 2022

The benefits of pets in the workplace

Over the years there have been many studies about how owning a pet can affect mental wellbeing. As well as the more obvious benefits such as companionship and the physical exercise we gain from walking our pets, it has been proven that they can help with stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.

Caring for an animal is a great way to distract us from our daily stresses, and by taking responsibility for our pet’s health we’re also improving our own health as it encourages us to take regular exercise, even when we might not be feeling up to it. Just a short walk outside can boost our mood by lowering our blood pressure, increasing our oxygen levels and producing endorphins.

Take your dog to work day

In 1999, the “Take your dog to work day” was first launched and it had such a positive impact on the working environment that companies around the world continue to encourage bringing dogs into the workplace. It is now widely recognised that the presence of pets at work can increase motivation and promote a happier, friendlier atmosphere. 

This year, National Take Your Dog To Work Day is on 24 June so there's still time to convince your employer. 

How can pets benefit the workplace?

Whatever the animal, pets can provide unconditional love and companionship. Many animals are also extremely intuitive and are sensitive to our moods, so they know when to give us some much-needed attention. When we’re feeling isolated, lonely or misunderstood, our pets can offer us company and make us feel appreciated and loved when no-one else does. Even when it is someone else’s pet that visits the workplace, it’s not uncommon for colleagues to form an emotional bond with them.

  1. Pets can reduce feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. Even the act of stroking a pet can help us to feel calmer and happier.
  2. They can improve relationships as it’s a great way to get talking to people. In a study published by habri central, Resources for the Study of the Human-animal Bond, research suggests that “animals can be a catalyst for several dimensions of human social relationships in neighborhood settings, ranging from incidental social interaction and getting to know people, through to formation of new friendships”.
  3. They encourage us to get outside more during our breaks for exercise and fresh air.
  4. They can increase attendance at work. Perhaps you don’t have a pet of your own, but you love spending time with animals. Also, if you own a pet, you will worry less if they can come to work with you. 
  5. They create a friendly environment for colleagues, customers or visitors. Even when we are under pressure at work, people tend to always be friendly and caring towards pets which can encourage us to act the same way with each other.
  6. They provide more flexibility in the workplace as pet owners don’t need to rush home at break times or leave early to take care of them.