For many people having a dog in the office is nothing more than a daydream. However, more and more companies are warming to the idea of an office pup. From therapy dogs to Taking Your Dog to Work Day, dogs are featuring more than ever and it’s easy to see why. Here are 5 ways an office dog could be the key to relieving stress.
Dogs can lower your blood pressure: It has been proven that those with access to dogs within the workplace were less stressed during their routine, but why? Research has found that petting a dog, or even simply being in their warming presence can be positively correlated with a drop in blood pressure.
Dogs can lower your cortisol levels: Interacting with dogs can lower cortisol levels; the cortisol hormone is released when we get stressed out. Long-term high cortisol levels can lead to higher cholesterol as well as hypertension.
Reducing stress and cortisol levels can be as simple as petting a dog, which has been proven to significantly lower stress whilst improving the immune system’s functions. A study by Virginia Commonwealth University proved that employees who took their dogs to work produced lower levels of the stress-causing hormone cortisol.
Dogs improve your emotional wellbeing: Medical science confirms that dogs contribute to driving emotional wellbeing. Seeing a dog in the workplace is an instant mood-booster, which can greatly improve overall morale and wellbeing. During stressful times in the office, a therapy dog could be the key to keeping everyone as happy as possible.
What is a therapy dog?
In the UK only 12% of employees aged 18-24 said they were happy with their work-life balance, mainly due to stress within the workplace. Many companies use therapy dogs to combat this. Therapy dogs are trained to provide comfort and affection to people who may need it.
For example, during exam times at university therapy dogs are often used to decrease the stress levels of students who may be feeling worried. It has become more common for therapy dogs to appear in the workplace too.
Therapy dogs majorly improve happiness and reduce stress, providing all the benefits of owning a dog at home translate to the office with a therapy dog.
Dogs encourage healthy lifestyles: Office dogs or temporary therapy dogs need their exercise. Dogs should be taken outside for regular walks for their own needs and to get enough exercise. Healthy and active lifestyles can therefore be encouraged from a canine friend in the office, keeping the office dog active helps ensure employees are active too, making them much more energised and focused.
Improved teamwork and communication: One major factor when it comes to stress in the workplace regards team conflict and miscommunications. Studies have shown that workplaces that featured dogs had better bonding sessions and more to talk about, resulting in a more cohesive and happier workplace over those who had no access to a pup.
So there you have it, 5 reasons an office dog can reduce stress and benefit your overall health. Dogs at work are a great reminder that you might need to take a break every now and then to make yourself feel a bit better.
If you’d like to read more about dogs in the workplace you can read Should dogs be allowed in the office? on our blog.