"I've been working like a dog" is a phrase most adults have uttered at one point in their lives. And it's true, work is rarely easy. It seems though, as we comfortably ease our way into the 21st century, that employers seem to be wising up to the fact that happy employees make better employees.
And any company that doesn't pay attention to the stress level of their employees is making a huge error. Stressed-out employees make more mistakes—mistakes that can be costly and even dangerous. Stressed-out employees take more sick leave, and they burn out, creating higher turnover rates.
So how can you help reduce stress at work? Your employer may already be doing a lot. Snack machines, free soda drinks, on-site childcare, paid time off, and fun team building activities are just some of the ways that companies are trying to keep their workers happy. A lot of companies are starting to offer a wealth of perks for their hard workers.
You may have a furry solution at home, though—few realize how helpful it is to bring your dog to work. Studies show that even petting an animal reduces stress. People around dogs are calmer, and more content. Bringing a dog to work makes the company atmosphere more home-like. But how do you convince your boss of this? It turns out that a lot of institutions and companies are getting wise to the mental health benefits of dogs.
Dogs have been seen more and more frequently in children's hospitals due to their therapeutic effect on the patients. If you run a decent hospital, odds are you have a pet therapy program. And nursing homes are falling suit, with therapy animals visiting regularly to cheer up elderly residents.
Increasingly, dogs are being registered as Emotional Support Animals (ESA's) for owners across the United States. These dogs help their owners by providing emotional support, simply with their presence. They help calm anxiety and are perfect for veterans and all those suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). There are differences between ESA dogs, therapy dogs, and service dogs, though, and the main distinction is the purpose for which the animal serves.
If your company is resistant to allowing dogs in the workplace and you feel that your mental health would benefit from it, you might consider registering your dog as an ESA. Of course, fighting your employer about bringing in a dog might make your workplace stress worse, so be aware of those relationships. Perhaps letting you go home at lunch to spend a half hour with your dog could be a compromise that you and your employer could agree upon.
Certain breeds are better than others to bring into the workplace, and of course, you need to consider your dog's behavior before deciding to bring them into the office. Bringing your dog in should add a sense of calm to the office, not a disruptive presence. You should also be mindful of severe allergies among your coworkers. There are some breeds that are better than others to bring into work because they tend to be more hypoallergenic.
Workplace stress is no joke. There are a lot of things that employers can do to reduce the stress of their workers. Most employers appreciate suggestions. So next time one of your employers complains of "working like a dog," kindly suggest to them that they work with a dog. They may thank you later.