What to Do to Make Your Workplace Dog-Friendly
Published: Jun. 04, 2012
Subject: Your Furry Co-Worker
Category: More Bones to Chew On
Research compiled earlier this year with regard to dogs in the workplace provided results we could have predicted: employees who bring their dogs into work with them experience less stress during the day, and improve job satisfaction for all. Considering how great your dog makes you feel, and the proven therapeutic benefits dogs provide to all kinds of people in various settings, the findings are not surprising.
And while the research validates what we dog folks already know, one person may not know the facts: your boss! Could sharing the study with your employer change your office pet policy? Give it a try, and read on for the details to pass along. And if taking your dog to work is definitely not an option at your current company, could a new job be in your horizon? See a listing of dog-friendly companies below, and a link to search for dog-friendly jobs below.
The preliminary study, published this past March in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management by researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University's School of Business, looked at the impact of dogs in the workplace. Specifically, the study examined how employees with dogs in the workplace, those with dogs at home, and those without dogs, were affected by the presence of fur friends in the office. Research was conducted at a company in Greensboro, NC, which has about 550 employees and allows 30 pet dogs to join their people at work.
Here’s a quick recap of the findings:
- Everyone started the day with low baseline levels of the stress hormone called Cortisol, and as the day went on, the group with their dogs in the office had the lowest amount of stress at all times of the day. (Employee stress levels were measured at four points through the day using a saliva sample test.)
- The group with the highest stress level was that of dog owners that left their dogs at home.
- Within the group that had their dogs with them, about half believed that dogs were important to their productivity.
- Among the two groups without dogs, 80% felt the dogs in the workplace had no negative effect on productivity.
- The study's participants all rated the company higher than the industry mean for job satisfaction and perceived organizational support.
"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," principal investigator Randolph Barker, a professor of management in the VCU School of Business, said in a university news release.
Barker adds, "We think dogs' presence in the workplace may reduce stress for their owners, increase job satisfaction even for those without pets, and it may increase perceptions of organizational support." "It's a low-cost wellness intervention, or benefit, that's available readily to any organization."
Now that you’ve ready the results from the study, how can you find a good job that allows you to bring your dog to work?
Start your search at companies like Google, Autodesk, Amazon and ClifBar, Ben & Jerry’s, all of which allow dogs in the office, and according to reports, do so to keep their employees happy. Also, search online for dog-friendly companies via simplyhired.com, which allows you to search specifically for dog-friendly companies; you can add other criteria, such job title and location to the search too.
Still, getting a new job is tough, and even more difficult when you limit your search to dog-friendly companies, so why not take a different approach and ask your employer if your dog can go to work with you. It just may be possible as long as dogs are not prohibited from your office building or you work in a restaurant or medical office. Ask if you can try out the concept or wait until the annual June event, Take Your Dog to Work Day. Check out TakeYourDog.com to learn more about the even and for tips on how to make your doggie co-worker’s visit a success.
Read more about the research study in Inc. Magazine's article, Office Dogs Reduce Worker Stress
Search for a job at a dog-friendly company
Get tips for taking your dog to work and learn about the annual Take Your Dog to Work Day
Thank you to iampeas on flickr for the photo of Sophie.
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