The Benefit of Pets in the Workplace

I am fortunate to work for and with a group of people that I don’t mind seeing on a daily basis — usually. Then there is the small group of part-timers. They have no set schedule, no assigned milestones and do not contribute anything in the completion of tasks. Their sole purpose is to bring some fun and fur to the routine. They are…The Dogs of Envoy.

It was such a pleasant surprise to find that I had stumbled upon a company that embraces pets in the workplace. I look forward to those days when I hear the jingle of dog tags or the pounding of paws running across the full length of the loft.

It is pretty obvious that pets are entertaining, but there are numerous benefits to not only owning a pet but also specifically having pets at work. A 2012 Virginia Commonwealth University study shows employees who bring dogs to work produce lower levels of cortisol (a stress-inducing hormone) and actually experience a decline in stress levels by the end of the day. The simple act of petting a dog or cat can also increase the level of oxytocin (a stress-reducing hormone) and interaction can decrease blood pressure and increase exercise — all wonderful physical benefits.

There are other reasons many corporations are adopting a pets-at-work policy. Employees tend to be more focused on work and more willing to stay late to finish a project when they are not worrying about rushing home to take care of their dogs. Pets are great conversation starters and offer an opportunity for employees to take a break, which allows the brain to relax and boosts creative thinking. Customers may also consider a company more humane and approachable if there is a dog greeting them when they arrive.

Putting the science and research aside … Butter, Stella, Sophie and Murphy all provide some much-needed distraction and can turn a bad day around, even if for a short time. When possible, I gladly take on the daunting task of being the dog-sitter during a meeting or lunch. Even Winky the Turtle offers a scenic escape. And don’t think only dogs rule here at Envoy. There is another group, The Cats of Envoy, but they all work from home.