The benefits of dogs in the workplace are the subject of new research published in the March issue of the International Journal of Workplace Health Management.
Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University found that the presence of dogs in the workplace may buffer the impact of stress during the work day in both their owners and the people that they come into contact with.
In this YouTube video, principal investigator Dr Randolph T Barker (no pun intended) talks about the costs of stress to employers through lost work time and the benefits of increased productivity.
The researchers conducted their study at Replacements Ltd, the pet-friendly workplace that I featured here in March 2011.
Although Dr Barker is a Professor of Management, he collaborated with specialists in psychiatry and biostatistics for this study. The researchers emphasise that their results are preliminary and that the next step is to expand the study to a larger sample size in an organisational setting.
I wonder which firm will put their hand up for that study?
Posted in dog-friendly workplaces, research
Tagged dog-friendly workplaces, dogs, employee wellbeing, job satisfaction, Journal of Workplace Health, Replacements, replacements ltd, research, stress, Virginia Commonwealth University, workplace health
“No one at the Ohio chapter of The Nature Conservancy enjoys going to meetings more than Annie. Once, she was even disciplined for attending a meeting to which she was not invited.”
The San Jose Mercury News has picked up this story by Associated Press reporter Melissa Kossler Dutton about the value of having a pet-friendly workplace. This article profiles companies such as The Nature Conservancy, Replacements (which I’ve previously covered) and Extrovertic.
A dog in the workplace can help to reduce stress and provide another way for staff to interact with one another. And walking the dog at break time forces people to get out and get some fresh air and stretch their legs (all positives for health & safety programmes!)
Of course, there have to be rules – such as excluding the cafeteria from the pet-friendly policy, and having behavioural standards which dogs must adhere to…but the firms that have adopted dog-friendly workplace strategies are in no doubt that they are effective.
(Oh, how I wish I could say that I enjoy meetings (I don’t). I’m sure if I could bring Daisy to meetings, I’d enjoy them a lot more!)
I’ve written for some time now about hotels that offer pet-friendly accommodation for dog owners. I am now extending my research into firms that have pet-friendly workplaces.
First up: Replacements Ltd. This firm was founded in 1981 and is the classic case of a person who turned their hobby into a business (no need to guess why that appeals to me). During the 1970s, founder Bob Page spent his weekends collecting china and crystal. Friends would ask him to keep an eye out for certain patterns (as replacements for pieces they had lost or broken. He began buying more and more pieces, storing them where he could in his house.
By 1981, he had left his job as an auditor to found Replacements, Ltd. The company’s facilities now are the size of seven football fields, housing 13.8 million pieces. Some of these pieces are more than 100 years old.
Bob also brings his two dachshunds to work with him and, out of his love for his dogs, he encouraged his staff to bring their dogs to work as well. The company now promotes the pets of its staff through its newsletter in a column on Featured Pet (and Pet Owner!). The company even encourages customers to visit them with their well-behaved pet. Partially in recognition of the take your dog to work policy, the company was awarded the 2009 Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award by the American Psychological Association.
Replacements, Ltd – I salute you!
Kathleen Crisley, specialist in dog massage, rehabilitation and nutrition/food therapy, The Balanced Dog, Christchurch, New Zealand
Golden retriever Dios comes to work with Brad Newton, who works in the online marketing team
Judy Sizemore delivers mail with her dog Alex
Senior dog Darby has worked at Replacements for 8 years with owners Jenn Barton (continuous improvement analyst) and John Harris (internet services supervisor)