Note before you start reading:
You can use this blogpost to convince your boss or team to get an office dog.
This blogpost is inspired by an interview with Martin Weber I read some months ago. Martin is the manager of the European Pioneers startup Accelerator programme. Besides thanking him for the incredibly valuable feedback he provided us on TeddyApp, I would also like to cite the answer he gave in the interview to the question: “Any good tips for fresh entrepreneurs?”
Dogs have already been found beneficial for lots of reasons, including for finding love. In fact, a study suggests that walking the dog helps people meet partners and lifelong friends. Today we can add another good one to the list:
When thinking of ways to reduce stress, we usually refer to techniques like exercise, nutrition, music, meditation and yoga. So, what about getting a dog, a cat, or even a less furry friend like a bird, a reptile, or an aquarium fish...
A dog in the workplace may turn out to be a key employee benefit —and this does not only apply to startups. Some notable companies already adopted a pet policy, including the New York-based online marketplace Etsy and the Huffington Post offices in New York and Los Angeles.
Here is why.
Brighten your day
If you are in the middle of something stressful, whether it’s preparing for that important presentation, a tight deadline or a difficult task, seeing that wagging tail and puppy smile brightens the day —it can turn around the whole environment.
This is confirmed by research. One study showed that, when conducting a task that’s stressful, people actually experienced less stress when their pets were with them than when a supportive friend or even their spouse was present.
Research has shown that pets contribute to improved morale, reduced employee absenteeism and stress-related ailments like heart disease and diabetes.
Playing with or petting an animal can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease production of the stress hormone cortisol. So it’s a matter of biochemistry: pets are good for your health.
A study on pets and blood pressure at the State University of New York at Buffalo, gave a groups of hypertensive New York stockbrokers dogs or cats. It found that the four-footed company resulted in lower blood pressure and heart rates than those who didn’t get pets.
A little anecdote about this research study: When these stockbrokers heard of the results, they went out and got pets.
Get Out And Exercise
Whether we walk our dogs because they need it, or are more likely to enjoy a walk when we have companionship, dog owners do spend more time walking than non-pet owners. And as we all know by now: exercise is good for stress management and overall health; but also for creativity.
In an office environment, whenever one is stuck on a task or needs some inspiration, going out for a walk can be extremely helpful. Research at Stanford University has shown that walking markedly improves people’s ability to generate creative ideas. And Sparky will thank you for the stroll.
When we’re out walking, having a dog with us can make us more approachable and give people a reason to stop and talk, thereby increasing the number of people we meet, giving us an opportunity to increase our network of friends and acquaintances, which also has great stress management benefits.
It's official: I want a dog…. ;-)