Having a ruff day? How pets can help with workplace wellbeing

April 1, 2019 Alicia Roy

It’s National Pet Month in the UK and the campaign aims to raise awareness of responsible pet ownership and the benefits of our pets. Here at Cornerstone, employees have a whole range of different pets that provide us with support and companionship, but aside from their cuteness, can having a pet actually boost our wellbeing and make us more productive in the workplace?

Around 15.4 million working days in the UK are lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety. A recent Deloitte Human Trends report shows more than 40 percent of all workers suffer from high stress, which in turn affects their productivity. Yet, even though it’s clear that workplace stress is affecting business, only a few organisations are taking action. For example, only 21 percent of organisations have a mental health counselling service and 27 percent of organisations have a designated office space for wellness.

It is clear that measures need to be taken to reduce this and improve employee mental health, and this is where our pets can help.

Find the purr-fect work-life balance

Modern day working environments often require us to work long hours, manage several projects at once or deal with the everyday stress that comes from having a job while managing our home life, relationships and families. Maintaining a positive work-life balance can be hard to do, particularly when there is a lot of pressure on you from work.

However, having a pet can help you manage that work-life balance. Going home to feed or walk your pet automatically gives you a reason to get out of the office.

Pets are also a great way enhance your social life. You can join pet clubs or socialise with other animal lovers at pet stores. Dog owners usually walk their dogs daily and during these walks often bump into other dog owners. Owning a pet can help you form new friendships and ultimately, help you manage your work-life balance.

Reduce your stress levels fur-ever

Stress can have an inherently negative impact on your body and can contribute to a series of health problems such as headaches, insomnia and fatigue, as well as a host of other effects on your mood and behaviour. Living with these symptoms can be difficult and they will also have an impact on all aspects of your life, from relationships to difficulties at work.

If your work permits it, trying to bring your pet into work. Having them at your place of work, particularly if they are a dog, will force you to take breaks from your desk and go outside to walk them. Taking your dog out for a walk or run is a great way to meet your daily exercise requirements while improving your mental health and reducing stress.

A recent 2018 study found that pets bring laughter to six in 10 owners and seven in 10 feel more relaxed in their company, indicating the huge impact an animal can have on our stress levels.

As we’ve seen, owning a pet can boost your happiness and reduce stress. Whether you work from home with your pet or have a pet-friendly office, the benefits of having pets is clear. People are often calmer and in a happier state of mind due to having their pet near them, even while at work.Avoid a productivity cat-astrophy

Having a pet can significantly improve your mental health, which in turn, helps you to be a more productive and engaged employee. If your happy and calm, you’re more likely to focus on your tasks and produce excellent work.

Similarly, if organisations want to achieve a good company culture then implementing a pet-friendly workplace strategy may be beneficial. Saying ‘yes’ to pets will show that your company is prioritising workplace wellbeing which will encourage employee retention and improve recruitment.

       

About the Author

Alicia Roy

With a background in recruitment, Alicia is currently part of the marketing team and helps creating new content as well as building the online brand as a community manager.

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