Friday, 27 April 2012

How to reduce stress at work – take your dog with you

As discussed in our previous blog, it seems that animals have a therapeutic effect on us. So much so that the International Journal of Workplace Health Management has recently published a study which suggests taking your pet dog to work can actually reduce stress and make your job, and those of your colleagues, more satisfying.

Research conducted by a team at Virginia Commonwealth University compared staff at a manufacturing company who had dogs, to those who had no pets, and differentiated between those who brought these dogs to work and those who left them at home.

Overall, they found employees with access to dogs were less stressed as the day progressed than those without access. However, stress levels of owners who left their dogs at home compared to those who brought them to work rose significantly during the day.

It has been suggested having dogs in the workplace may boost morale and contribute to employee performance. Other benefits suggested (regardless of whether individuals had access to their own dogs or those of others) include increased co-worker co-operation and stress relief through stroking and petting the dogs.

Furthermore, the dogs themselves seem so much happier as they are not left at home on their own for long periods of time so it seems to be a win-win situation.

With stress at work on the increase along with high levels of absenteeism and burnout and, in turn, loss of productivity, perhaps employers should be looking at innovative ways to reduce stress in the workplace and create a more enjoyable environment for their employees.

First Psychology Scotland has centres in the following locations:

Edinburgh: 0131-668-1440,
Glasgow: 0141-404-5411,
Aberdeen: opening soon!,
Borders: 01896-800-400,

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