As Daily Star revealed earlier this year, approximately 15.4million working days in the UK are lost each year through stress, anxiety or depression.
However, new research has revealed that something as simple as inviting dogs into the workplace could be the simplest way to improve mental wellbeing whilst at work.
The research, undertaken by Purina, has revealed that four-fifths of Brits (81%) believe a pet-friendly workplace are happier workplaces.
Remarkably, a fifth (20%) ranked a 'dog friendly' environment as more desirable compared to other office perks such as free breakfasts, a complimentary bar or even free childcare!
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As if that wasn't surprising enough, 17% of those surveyed even said they’d be willing to take a pay freeze or pay cut in order to be able to bring their dog to work.
Purina opted to commissioned the study as part of their Pets at Work (PAW) scheme.
It's all to do with encouraging more workplaces to become pet-friendly ahead of World Mental Health Day, which takes place today, Thursday 10th October.
The companies findings also support previous research from the University of Lincoln, which found Brits who regularly take their dogs to work are 22% more satisfied with overall working conditions than other employees.
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Leading behavioural psychologist Jo Hemmings also agrees that allowing canines into the office is a good idea.
Explaining her decision, Hemming's also outlined the thinking behind her stance; So maybe print it off and give it to your boss the next time you see them!
1. Stroking a dog has been proven to reduce stress, whether the dog belongs to you or not
Just the act of stroking and petting a dog has a calming effect on most people. It relaxes us, giving us a little burst of the bonding hormone, oxytocin. Just feeling that soft fur also lowers our heart rate and blood pressure.
2. Pets are a compelling source of social support for us
Pets, especially dogs, are very loyal and non-judgemental. They show you unconditional love, even if you’re having a bad day or feeling down about yourself. Dogs always respond well to a few kind words or a stroke, with enthusiasm and happiness, which can be very infectious. We feel rewarded by our actions, raising dopamine – the reward hormone –reducing cortisol, the stress hormone.
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3. Dogs encourage outgoing and sociable behaviour
Dogs can be an ice breaker – most people can’t resist petting or talking to dogs and in that British reserved way, it’s much easier talking to the dog before the owner! This positive behaviour also works in the professional environment, encouraging your colleagues to talk more to you and to each other, both in groups and individually.
4. Dogs lower stress related symptoms, like heart rate, high blood pressure, cholesterol and loneliness
Being around dogs in the workplace has multiple health benefits. In terms of productivity, studies have shown that employees in pet-friendly offices make less visits to their GP and take fewer sick days.
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