Quite a few years ago now, I worked in an administrative role in a fantastic home for the elderly with mental health issues. It was a great job, no one day was ever the same.
There was a small of group of employees who were responsible for the social interaction side of care; activities, days out etc. and I can remember how specifically effective one of the activities had on the lovely residents – animals.
People with ‘well behaved’ pets were invited into the home to interact with the residents, and the effect was profound.
Those with no or little speech were making efforts to verbally communicate with these furry creatures, those with no or little movement were trying to reach out to touch them, the atmosphere was uplifted and you could feel energy and happiness levels rising.
It got me thinking……..being at work can sometimes feel dull, mundane, repetitive and, let’s face it, disengaging. What is needed is some motivational ‘ooomphhh’ at times – so what about workplace pets to bring it on?
Employers and employees are only now starting to acknowledge the advantages of a growing office trend that allows pets in the workplace.
In fact I recently read an article in the Manchester Evening News about how employees at a Didsbury finance firm have gone ‘quackers’ for the latest addition to the team – an orphaned duckling, named Pancake. In their busy workplace environment, the presence of this cute little feathered creature has had a rather calming effect on employees, relieving stress levels.
Research carried out in the United States found that employees with access to animals, specifically dogs, were less stressed as the day went on than those who had no access.
The preliminary study published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management looked at 75 employees and the research suggests access to dogs boosts morale and reduces stress levels, whether people have access to their own pets or other people’s.
There has been plenty of evidence showing that stress can contribute to employee absenteeism and burnout. It can also result in significant loss of employee engagement and productivity.
Having pets at work can really help employees to relax, reduce heart rate, lower blood pressure and also ensures that breaks are taken to care for the pet, leaving employees to return to work in a more productive and positive frame of mind.
Just think of the effects on team building and office dynamics an animal in the workplace could bring – helping to promote social interaction and more collaborative working.
Pets at work can be good for you, and your pet. Now you just have to persuade the boss.
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