(BPT) - Businesses of all types and sizes are increasingly recognizing how the presence of their furry friends in the work environment can contribute to their employees’ engagement, commitment and overall culture. As a result, many have introduced bring-your-pet-to-work programs that have been very positive for employee morale.
To learn more, leading pet care company Purina recently co-sponsored a study with the U.K.'s University of Lincoln on worker perceptions and how dogs are impacting today’s workplaces. Among their findings:
Dogs can improve our performance. Employees who frequently take their dogs to work report more energetic performances and higher-than-average engagement, including stronger dedication to and greater absorption in their work.
Dogs can boost our quality of work life. Those who bring their dogs to work rank themselves higher in terms of general well-being, home-work interface, job/career satisfaction, sense of control at work and overall working conditions.
Dogs make us less likely to leave our jobs. We're significantly less likely to look elsewhere if we can be with our dogs at work.
Dogs can help reduce our anxiety. Employees who bring pets to work demonstrate fewer signs of stress. For many people, that's partly because we don't need to worry how our pets are faring without us.
Pets help us socialize. Because they add another layer of interaction between co-workers, they improve our workplace friendships. Often, otherwise quiet employees become more engaged when talking to co-workers about their pets.
Other Purina studies have determined:
We want our pets with us. Almost two of three employees agree pets should be allowed in the workplace if most workers are in favor.
We’re willing to foster change. More than half of employees who want pet-friendly office policies are willing to spearhead such efforts.
Purina is a forerunner in encouraging employees to bring their dogs to work after recognizing early how pets can be a source of comfort and stability in the office. In fact, it’s taken the concept of pets in the workplace a step further by partnering with St. Louis-based nonprofit Duo Dogs to launch an employee-led Touch Therapy dog program. Initially, eight Purina associates and their family pets will train to become certified Duo Touch Therapy teams so they may visit youth organizations, schools, hospitals, treatment centers, day programs, nursing homes and other locations, providing comfort, affection and love to others. A growing body of research demonstrates the benefits of Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) to support the mental well-being of those struggling with physical and mental health challenges.
“Our employees understand better than anyone how impactful pet interactions can be,” notes Purina Chief Human Resources Officer Steve Degnan. “And we’re so grateful this group of associates, and their pets, are stepping up and helping a valued partner like Duo Dogs deliver healing pet interactions to those who need it most."