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What science has to say about dogs at work

They’re cute, cuddly and make great companions, but does having dogs at work have any science-backed benefits?

There are plenty of organisations embracing dogs at work for many different reasons ranging from productivity to stress reduction.

At Pragmatic Thinking, we’re all for dogs at work. And since we’ve got a psychologist, behavioural scientist and a social scientist in our midst it’d be a shame if we didn’t delve into the science behind these claims.

What are the benefits of having dogs at work?

Stress Reduction

Having dogs at work releases oxytocin, which is a neurochemical that reduces anxiety and stress. When you’ve got a dog by your side, your heart rate comes down, your blood pressure reduces, and your heart rate variability improves.

Connection

When we have an increase in oxytocin, we feel more connected to the work we’re doing and our colleagues.

Take a look at this video where our CEO and co-founder, Ali Hill, shares the science-backed benefits of having dogs in the office.

Health

Pets help reduce cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure in their owners. Having a dog in the office also means that you’ll have to get up and take more frequent walks throughout the day than you might have otherwise.

Collaboration

In a recent study from Central Michigan University, it was found that having dogs at work helped to improve collaboration and cooperation.

Regardless of the task, groups with a dog present showed more verbal and physical signs of closeness than groups without a dog. The results of the study suggest that there is something about the presence of a dog that increases kind and helpful behaviour within groups.

“When people work in teams, the presence of a dog seems to act as a social lubricant,” says lead author Steve Colarelli. “Dogs seem to be beneficial to the social interactions of teams.”

High-performing organisations embracing dogs at work

There’s no shortage of dog-friendly companies across the world. Here are a few that have caught our eye.

AIRBNB

At Airbnb, office dogs get their own badges to be scanned in, just like employees. They even include the office dogs in their internal “people” page so everyone can get to know the furry faces they’ll see around the workplace.

AMAZON

Amazon now has a whopping 7,000 registered dogs within their organisation, but they’ve been proudly dog-friendly since day one. They’ve gone the extra mile to create an on-campus dog park and always have plenty of free poop bags and treats. Isn’t that a bit awesome?

The four-legged companions have been “an unexpected mechanism for connection,” according to Lara Hirschfield, Amazon’s “Woof Pack” manager.

SALESFORCE

Salesforce has a program they’ve aptly named ‘Puppyforce’. Employees are able to reserve a desk on a designated floor where they can work alongside their dogs. They’ve even hosted adoption events in collaboration with rescue centres to give their team the opportunity to find a furry friend of their own.

Now that you’ve had a run-down on the science of it, will you introduce a ‘bring your dog to work day’ in your organisation? If you do, be sure to let us know and send us some snaps.