Having pets at work can help employees relax, reduce heart rate, and lower blood pressure, which can decrease absenteeism and improve staff morale. In addition, employees who take a break to walk their dog seem to return to work in a more productive and positive mood.

“Studies have demonstrated that pets in the workplace contribute to stress reduction, as well as employee teamwork and satisfaction. Employees who can bring their pets to work are also more productive,” said Steven Feldman, executive director of the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative (HABRI) Foundation in Washington, D.C. “Employees are also more likely to collaborate and work better in teams because pets help forge social connections.”

Research also suggests that pet owners tend to be healthier people. “We know that pets reduce stress, alleviate depression, improve heart health, and reduce obesity. We also know that pet owners visit the doctor less often than non-pet owners. In fact, pet ownership saves the U.S. healthcare system $11.7 billion every year,” said Feldman. When factoring in the decrease in absenteeism, employers that allow their employees to bring pets to work also tend to see decreased health insurance premiums due to an overall healthier workforce.

I have brought my own dog, Maya, to the Leonard Florence Center on a few occasions. She is a 6-year-old Tibetan Terrier who is always happy and excited to see my colleagues because she is a true people-loving dog. After she visits some of the residents upstairs, she often naps on the floor of my office, surrendering to belly rubs from visitors. She always brings a smile to everyone’s faces and seems to put people in a better mood. Bringing her to work not only benefits the residents and my colleagues, but it also provides her more stimulation than a day spent at home alone in the crate or backyard.

If your workplace permits, celebrate “Take Your Pet to Work Week” this week! Your colleagues and your fur baby will be happy you did.

This blog is courtesy of Rosalie Stone, payroll director for Chelsea Jewish Lifecare.

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