Saturday, May 28

Dogs in the office: several studies show benefits for workers


Does your heart skip every time you close the front door to go to the office, and leave your dog or cat inside? Or maybe you have the impression that your workday would improve substantially if you had your favorite furry friend close by; or if you could walk or pet him during mealtime. Well then: science proves you right, you should take your dog to the office.

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Studies show that having our dogs close (and cats, if teleworking is your thing; because felines are fatal to environmental changes) reduces anxiety in the office, it increases productivity and helps us better cope with potentially stressful tasks. It can even help us to speak better in public.

In fact, taking the dog to work is an increasingly frequent initiative, so much so that has an international day; that this year was celebrated on Monday June 21 (officially World Day to take the dog to work) or on the 25, for the Take your dog to work day, in the Anglo-Saxon world.

And there are big companies like Purina that even have a program to help other companies transform their work spaces in more dog-friendly places (or dog-friendly). In this regard, the therapeutic benefits of having our dog (or cat) around while we work are undeniable, and have been well studied and documented.

“Dogs, above all, help us to reduce anxiety, since the simple fact of stroking a dog helps us secrete oxytocin, a hormone that provides us with well-being and reduces the level of stress, “says psychotherapist Fabiana Lemos. Scientists who have investigated the effects of taking the dog to the office make similar observations.

In 2012, a study conducted in the United States analyzed the stress level in factory employees; and found that these workers experienced significantly lower stress levels when they could see, talk and pet their dogs during the workday.

Other 2019 research, from the University of Jaén, analyzed the influence of having our dog around when we are faced with a potentially stressful task that requires a certain concentration, such as public speaking.

“Our study suggests that when we are accompanied by a dog during a stressful task, we perceive the situation with less anxiety and our heart rate is also reduced,” says David Ordóñez, co-author of this publication, and coordinator of the master’s degree in Assisted Intervention with animals from the University of Jaén.

Benefits of taking your dog to work

exist three essential benefits of taking our dog friends to work, says Ordóñez: “First, when we pet a dog, a discharge of oxytocin is produced naturally (the so-called love hormone), and there is a lowering of cortisol, the hormone that controls stress processes; These two processes combined make us feel better, something that can benefit us at the work level and increase our productivity “, says Ordóñez, founder of Dogging.

Second, the dog is able to break down personal barriers and increase empathy, which favors that we perceive other people in a more friendly and close way. “Finally, in environments with a dog, there is an atmosphere of general relaxation, of distention, which is contagious among the professionals who are working at that time,” adds Ordóñez.

An extreme that seems to confirm a study conducted in 2019 in a London hospital: the nursing staff stated that the presence of the assisted therapy dogs not only benefited the treatment of the patients, but also had a positive effect on the work environment among professionals, and helped them perform their nursing tasks with less stress.

In any case, “all these studies tell us that introducing a dog in an unusual environment, such as our work, helps us to humanize it, since it makes it a friendlier space for everyone, including workers”, concludes Ordóñez.

Many benefits, but make sure your dog wants to accompany you

Even so, the psychologist Lemos wonders if the dog gets the same benefits as you when accompanying you to work. “Having a dog immobilized during the time we are working can be a nonsense, especially if we are engaged in a sedentary activity within an office or if we work in a factory with a significant hourly load,” he warns.

Therefore, the psychotherapist believes that we can consider other options so that our friend does not spend so much time alone, how to find a good dog walker; or have the help of a neighbor or family member.

Ordóñez shares the concern; But believe that the decision whether or not to take your furry friend to the office (if possible) depends a lot on the dog (if he is educated or used to it), and also on your work environment.

In any case, the expert insists in which we must make sure that we follow a protocol of well-being, which includes taking into account the number of hours we work and whether our dog will be at ease. Also if we can ensure that we will have enough rest time to offer you the tours you need.

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