Over stress in the work places are the most significant reason of degrading performance and employee absenteeism. Target based work profiles and growing tension is one most salient contributor to disorganized functioning of human resource in an organization. According to a preliminary study, published in the March, 2012 issue of the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, dogs in the workplace is a positive impact in the employees’ attitudes and ensures enhanced productivity. Researches have shown that dogs in the workplaces can degrade the stress impact in a normally stressful workday for the owners of the dogs, which ensures a better performance.
The researchers at the Virginia Commonwealth University compared the employees, who are allowed to bring their dogs in their workplaces with those who are not. The research had been carried out in the line of stress, job satisfaction, in the fields involving organizational commitments and found a noticeable difference in the work performance of the two groups of employees. The principal investigator Randolph T. Barker, Ph.D., professor of management in the VCU School of Business said that it was a preliminary study that “provides the first quantitative study of the effects of employees’ pet dogs in the workplace setting on employee stress, job satisfaction, support and commitment”. He said, “dogs in the workplace can make a positive difference. The differences in perceived stress between days the dog was present and absent were significant. The employees as a whole had higher job satisfaction than industry norms.”
The research work was carried out at the Replacements Ltd., which is a service-manufacturing-retail company based in Greensboro, North Carolina. Replacements Ltd. has employed around 550 workers, and most of them has to work in sever work load, as in case of any other professional organization. 20 to 30 dogs used to be present on the company premises everyday, and the research work had been carried out over a period of 7 working days amidst the company setting. During this period of time participants (employees of Replacements Ltd.) had to complete the surveys and the saliva samples had been collected. The employees were assigned pagers in order to prompt them about completing surveys during the day.
In the morning no significant difference was noticed between the 3 groups of employees in the level of stress hormone that was measured through the saliva sample, but as the work proceeded and self-reported stress levels were noticed to be declining for employees who were allowed to present in the work place with their dogs. Simultaneously, an increase in the stress levels were observed in the employees who did not have their pet with them in the work place.
Barker said that his team noticed a unique dog-related communication in the workplace that could positively influenced the employees’ (with their dogs) performance and level of work satisfaction. He said that employees who were not allowed to bring their dogs were found requesting to take a co-worker’s dog out on a break, although this wasn’t related to the study. Barker said, “the effect of pets in reducing the impact of stress and enhancing communication found in other settings may extend to the workplace. Pet presence may serve as a low-cost, wellness intervention readily available to many organizations and may enhance organizational satisfaction and perceptions of support. Of course, it is important to have policies in place to ensure only friendly, clean and well-behaved pets are present in the workplace.”
Professor Barker i looking forward to a bigger research work with larger sample sizes in the organizational set up followed by this preliminary study of contribution of dogs’ presence in the work performance and job satisfaction ni the work places.