According to a Marie-Jose Enders, an expert in human and animal relationships at Open University, office pets don’t just reduce stress and improve connections between colleagues, they boost productivity in the workplace too.
“It’s definitely good for the work atmosphere to have a dog in the office,” she told Business Insider. “Not only does your cortisol level drop when you stroke a dog; you also produce more of the hormone oxytocin, which makes you feel more relaxed and happy.”
In addition, dogs put certain situations into perspective: “You can just take a bit of space and walk the dog,” Enders added. Plus, their presence helps you complete tasks quicker. "An animal at work makes people more motivated — they like their work more and they experience less stress."
And science backs up these claims. In 2012, researchers from Virginia Commonwealth University studied the link between pets and workplace wellness. They took saliva samples from factory employees – who both did and didn’t have office dogs - and analysed them for cortisol.
Those without dogs had significantly higher levels of cortisol than those with them, and this continued to rise throughout the day. Interestingly though, the levels were higher again for the group who usually had dogs, but didn’t on this particular day.
With evidence like this, it's little wonder that major players like Amazon, Google and Lululemon are already on board. Now, to convince HR…