Good thing about bringing pets to work
Pets in the office: four words that surely were never meant to be written together. Or so you’d think — but a growing number of businesses are coming round to the idea that having a furry friend at work can increase productivity while also helping staff to relax.
Doug Strycharczyk, managing director of the business consultancy firm AQR, has been taking his dog, Tess, to work for the past seven years. “I started bringing her to the office because I found it very therapeutic,” he says. “She helped me stay calm, particularly when we came under a lot of pressure.”
The theory for why pets help beat stress at work is based on the idea that the workplace is full of sources of stress — but how we respond to these sources determines whether we feel stressed. These responses, in turn, are affected by the extent to which we feel in control of our lives.
If, for example, you are in a fast-paced, stressful situation, psychologists say that the correct thing to do is to stop, empty your head, and start again — which is where your office pet comes in. “When I find I don’t know what the hell I’m doing next,” says Strycharczyk, “I go to
Tess and pat her on the head for a couple of minutes. When I’m properly relaxed, I sit back at my desk and my head is emptied. Then I can say: ‘RightI need to deal with this, then this’. And I’m right back on track.”
A survey of small businesses commissioned by UK animal charity the Blue Cross found that 90 per cent of companies who allowed dogs in the workplace noticed a positive change in the working environment; two-thirds claimed staff morale had lifted; 56 per cent said the pets had improved work relations; and half even noticed a decrease in absences.
“It’s not just you who will benefit from taking your pooch intothe office — your dog will also enjoy the company,” says Ziela Haider of the Blue Cross.
“The underlying message here is a serious one — to avoid leaving your dog at home for long periods of time,” says Haider. “It is a great way to include your dog in another aspect of your
life, and gives them a chance to socialise with other people — remember that dogs are pack animals so they enjoy the company of people.”