Study finds pets at work could lower stress
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GREENSBORO -- Bringing your pooch to work could add big benefits to your workday.
Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University found people who work alongside their pets have less stress and find their jobs more satisfying. It's something a Greensboro-based company has been doing for years.
It's a perk of working at Replacements Limited. Sara Vestal's boxers have been coming to work with her since they were puppies.
She said it's made a world of difference.
”It helps relieve your stress through out the day to have a friend handy and it helps motivate you during your breaks to get up and go outside,” Vestal said.
And now there may be evidence to back those benefits up.
Researchers at VCU broke the employees at Replacements into groups; those who brought their pets to work, those who left their pets at home and those employees who didn't have a pet. They handed out surveys and collected saliva from them.
“We wanted to find, not only a baseline for stress, which was the cortisol at the beginning of the day, but also a progression of their measurement or perception of stress during the day and the week,” Researcher Randall Barker said.
Researchers said there wasn't a difference in the stress hormone levels between the groups but those people who work side-by-side with their pets reported less stress, while others reported more through out the day.
“While we can't say it is directly attributable to the dogs that were there, it does suggest that there is something going on, perhaps it is the animals that are increasing the amount of satisfaction,” Barker said, “that these employees perceive during the work week as well.”
Barker said there's more research to do with more companies and on a larger scale, but he points out, this might be an easy way for employers to lower their employees stress levels and make their jobs more satisfying.
The preliminary study is published in the March issue of the International Journal of Workplace Health Management.