Office Pets Reduce Work-Related Stress And Boost Productivity, Study Says

I've personally been saying it for years, but we finally have scientific proof that we would all be more productive workers if our offices had some four-legged friends in them.

According to Business Insider, researchers at England's Open University have confirmed that it would definitely be in everyone's best interest for workplaces to feature some adorable animals, but the benefits go beyond us simply delighting at the sight of fur babies — office pets would actually make us less stressed and more productive.

Researcher Marie-José Enders said having a dog in the office is "definitely good for the work atmosphere."

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"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," she told Business Insider.

Dogs also give workers the opportunity to de-stress when the office gets to be a little too much to handle.

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"If your boss is giving you a hard time, a dog can make it easier to put certain situations into perspective," Enders explained. "You can just take a bit of space and walk the dog. An animal at work makes people more motivated — they like their work more and experience less stress."

Don't worry, cat lovers — your feline friends have also proven to be excellent workplace stress-relievers.

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Accoridng to behavioral psychologist Lotte Spijkerman, both dogs and cats can "reduce stress and increase productivity ... because they interact with you of their own accord."

Spijkerman explained, "When they pop over to your work station, it's a good reminder that you might need to take a break."

A 2012 scientific study conducted by Virginia Commonwealth University actually proves these claims.

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As per the experiment, researchers measured saliva samples collected from several groups of employees: Those who brought their dogs to work with them, those who left their pups at home, and those who don't have any pets all.

Although the results showed all three groups had similar "baseline" stress levels, it was those who didn't bring their dogs to work who showed "significantly higher stress" levels.

When it comes to picking the perfect pet to bring into your work environment, you should consider all the pros and cons.

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For instance, while dogs and cats might feel like the most popular choice, they require some serious attention, like giving frequent walks and changing litter boxes.

A hamster's presence wouldn't exactly be as pronounced as, say, a dog's, but they're also low maintenance.

Spijkerman said some offices opt to keep community fish tanks because "watching fish can be very relaxing."

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"A fish tank has about the same effect on people as watching a hearth fire," the psychologist told Business Insider. "That goes for birds or anything natural in the office, like plants. Even smells can have a soothing effect, with citrus smells being useful for calming."

So whether your office is in need of a dog, a cat, a hamster, a fish, a bird, or maybe just a little more greenery, you can now convince your boss that these additions are a must-have if they want to see productivity increase and stress levels decrease.

Hey, you've got the science to prove it.

h/t: Business Insider

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