Pets at Work?

From USAToday:

INDIANAPOLIS — Employers and employees are acknowledging the advantages and benefits of a growing office trend that allows pets in the workplace. And now there’s research to support what some have known for years.

According to a Virginia Commonwealth Universitystudy, employees who bring their dogs to work produced lower levels of the stress-causing hormone cortisol.

Published in spring 2012, the study, led by Randolph Barker, a professor of management, was conducted at a dinnerware company in North Carolina, which sees 20 to 30 dogs a day on its premises. As the workday went on, research found average stress level scores fell about 11% among workers who had brought their dogs to work, while they increased 70% for those who did not.

“When I’m stressed, I usually call Zoe (a chocolate Labrador retriever) over and rub her ear. That’s my therapy,” said Ann Marie DeLa Rosa, 26, who works at software design company Inverse-Square in downtown Indianapolis and appreciated the company’s pet-friendly policy.

Not only does Zoe, who could be mistaken for a small grizzly bear with a smile, alleviate her stress, DeLa Rosa said, the dog also forces her owner to take a lunch break.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than fifty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • AHH

    It might decrease the stress level of the dog owners, but they should also measure the impact this addition to the workplace has on other workers (and in some cases customers).
    I have a mild phobia about dogs (perhaps from a childhood bite experience); for example if I’m out for a walk and somebody comes the other direction with a dog I won’t flee but I’ll cross to the other side of the street if I can. I can tell you that if there were dogs around my workplace I’d feel more stressed, not less.

  • reJoyce

    More stress for me, too. No phobias, just allergies. It’s hard to work when you’re sneezing constantly.

  • Ivy

    I’ve been fortunate enough (since I’ve had my dog) to work in 2 churches that have been very dog friendly. I’m not sure I could have kept her if they hadn’t been and that would have broken my heart and definitely heightened my stress levels. Lola owns the 3rd floor offices at my current work place.

  • Richard Olsen

    I agree, in most cases, an animal at work can reduce stress. Unless, in my case, when a co-workers dog pooped (partial diarrhea) on the carpet just outside my cubicle. Twas not pleasant at all.

  • Phil Miller

    My vote is for no pets in offices. Not everyone feels comfortable around dogs, and really, that should be reason enough. I used to work at a music store where the owner brought his dog in everyday, and while the dog didn’t bother me, per se, I did get irritated when the owner asked employees to take the dog out to do its business…

  • phil_style

    A director in my last company brought his dog in most days.
    It smelled bad and growled a lot at colleagues.
    I thought that having the dog there was a terrible idea.

    I would not support pets in the office unless it could be shown they were not disruptive.


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