Dog is man’s best friend, even at workplace

Taking your dog to your workplace may not only reduce your stress but also increase your the job satisfaction of your colleagues

Dog is man's best friend—even at workplace, reveals a new study by Virginia Commonwealth University. Taking your dog with you to work may make a positive difference in the workplace by reducing stress and making the job more satisfying for other employees.

happy man holding a cute little puppy
Take your dog with you to work | Pic courtesy: John Boyer

It is well-known that stress is one of top causes of employee absenteeism and burnout leading to significant loss of productivity and resources. But the study found that dogs in the workplace may not only lessen the effect of stress for their owners but also make the job more satisfying for those with whom they come into contact.

The researchers studied employees who bring their dogs to work, employees who do not bring their dogs to work and employees without pets with respect to stress, job satisfaction, organisational commitment and support.

Published in the March issue of the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, the principal investigator Randolph T. Barker, Ph.D., professor of management in the VCU School of Busines, said “Although preliminary, this study provides the first quantitative study of the effects of employees' pet dogs in the workplace setting on employee stress, job satisfaction, support and commitment.”

“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.”

The study took place at Replacements, Ltd., a service-manufacturing-retail company located in Greensboro, N.C., which employs approximately 550 people. Approximately 20 to 30 dogs are on the company premises each day. The study took place over a period of one work week in the company setting, during which time participants completed surveys and collected saliva samples. Pagers were assigned to prompt employees to complete surveys during the day.

The researchers measured stress hormone levels of the three employee groups via a saliva sample, first in the morning, then during the course of the work day. What they found was that there was no perceptible difference between the stress levels of the different groups in the morning but as the day progressed, self-reported stress declined for employees who had their dogs with them and increased for non-pet owners and dog owners who did not bring their dogs to work. The team also noted that stress significantly increased during the day when owners left their dogs at home compared to days they brought them to work.

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