For 16,000 years at least, dogs have been domesticated and have played key roles for centuries in society’s central work functions such as policing, farming and hunting. Given this long history, why aren’t they commonly found in the office spaces of today?
Service dogs have been critical as well in helping disabled people, and in recent times dogs have also taken on roles that are more specialized, including providing sick children with comfort, easing nervous flyer tensions at airports and help to rehabilitate wounded veterans.
However, as their roles have evolved in terms of providing specialized services, their roles have somewhat devolved in terms of being everyday companions. In particular, the role they play in our daily work lives. As our society has become more industrialized, it appears that dogs have been pushed out of our traditional work environments. It has gotten to the point that the presence of our dogs at work tends to be very unwelcome.
Remember, that it wasn’t until quite recently that condo and apartment buildings started to become more “pet friendly.” Some designers are now starting to consider pets when conceptualizing new communities. However, there is still a very long way to go when it comes to our workplaces.
For quite some time research has supported the idea that having a dog (or really any pet for that matter) is very beneficial to our well-being and health. There has even been some research that suggests that having a pet present can have effects that are similar to yoga and meditation. When you consider the strain and stress that is associated with our modern world, it does certainly beg the question of: Can having pets in our offices create a more stress-free and productive environment?
One Virginia Commonwealth University study showed that employees bringing their dogs into work with them had higher work satisfaction and lower stress. Other research findings have shown that having a dog close by can help to lower an individual’s heart rate and blood pressure.
This shouldn’t be too surprising. We know from psychology that one of the very best buffers against stress has always been social support. A layer of buffering is added by pets, but in a more basic way. They meed our needs for contact and provide us with affection without all of the talk. Basically, let employees bring their furry friends into work can provide inexpensive wellness benefits.
The following are some additional reasons why having dogs at work should be considered:
They Help With Buffering Loneliness: There are some job positions that can potentially be very lonely, meaning they don’t have much social support or human interaction. Dogs can help to provide an extra feeling of comfort and company. In some parts of the world an emotional support dog letter is a thing and allows people the chance to have a dog in the office for medical reasons.
Dogs Offer Unconditional Love: Relationships at work can be quite conditional and complex. The affection from a dog is unconditional.
You Are Held Accountable: All of us need to take breaks from time to time. However, it is very easy getting lost in a hectic workday and not take breaks and power through until we are completely exhausted. A dog needs to go outside on a regular basis for bathroom breaks and they will be more than happy to keep you reminded of this.
They Help To Boost Your Morale: It has been shown by research that petting a dog can help to boost dopamine and serotonin, which can result in workers who are more productive and happy.
Companies such as Ben & Jerry’s, Etsy, Amazon and Goggle have all adopted “dog at work” policies in order to capitalize on all of these excellent benefits. A majority of our waking hours are spent working, so rather than our dogs being kept confined to an empty house all day long, why not take them into work? It only seems perfectly natural, give all of the new fond benefits that science has demonstrated along with our long-standing history with them.