Why Dogs and Cats May Be Good for Business

The modern office has changed. Gone are the days of musty cubicle wastelands and domineering bosses. In their stead, we have in-office mixers and peppy startup cultures. In fact, 20 percent of American companies either allow employees to bring in their pets or adopt a furry friend of their own, according to the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association. If you’re on the fence about whether to let a literal animal into your workplace, you should know the data firmly supports it.

In 2012, Virginia Commonwealth University found that employees who brought their dogs to work showed reduced levels of cortisol, a hormone commonly associated with heightened stress levels. The Centers for Disease Control has also released several studies that show the connections between pet contact, lowered cholesterol and blood pressure, and heightened happiness — all of which would benefit no place more than the office.

When a disgruntled client goes off on your star employee, there are few better cures than the attention of a friendly dog or cat. Not only that, but pets can serve as conversation starters. They even foster trust between teams, as reported in a 2010 study from Central Michigan University.

A common gripe among managers is that, though regular breaks have been empirically proven to increase worker productivity and health, too many employees simply skip them to keep working. Allowing office dogs gives your worn-out employees a valid excuse to take a quick walk.

If the increased happiness of your team still isn’t enough to convince you, you might want to consider your customers. A potential client or customer’s interest is piqued when they see a dog ambling around your office. It’s just one more way you can connect with them, and the presence of an animal lends your company a relaxed and personable atmosphere.

Pets in the office might seem a little millennial, but even a cursory glance at the research reveals it’s worth mulling over. Although, you might want to stick to dogs and cats — we’re not sure an office snake would be received quite as well.