Far-fetched? The health benefits of pets in the workplace

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Having a dog in the office can reduce stress and increase job satisfaction according to a recent study from Virginia Commonwealth University.

The study, published in the March issue of the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, found having a dog in the workplace may buffer the impact of stress for their owners and make the job more satisfying for those they come into contact with.

Randolph T. Barker (yes that is his real name), professor of management at the VCU School of Business said having a dog in the workplace can have a positive impact on employee stress. “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.”

Barker says the presence of a pet may be a low cost wellness intervention option available to many organizations to boost employee satisfaction.

“Of course, it is important to have policies in place to ensure only friendly, clean and well-behaved pets are present in the workplace,” he says.

More and more workplaces are becoming dog friendly. In the US 1.4 million people take their dogs to work every day and a 2008 study found that dog friendly workplaces experience less absenteeism and a willingness from staff to work longer hours.

If you’re not ready for your workplace to go to the dogs, there are other ways to encourage employee wellness via pet ownership; organizations such as Ceridian Canada are offering pet insurance as an employee benefit.

 


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