Most employees love a good office dog. They can help reduce stress in the workplace, boost office morale, promote productivity, and even improve communication between co-workers. So, with work-from-home now a staple in our professional lives, what benefits can remote workers enjoy with their animal buddies?
While it was never ideal to bring your snakes or pet rats into an office environment, one of the great things about working from home is that no pet is excluded. For instance, if Timmy the tarantula makes you more productive, you can now pop him on your desk and get to work!
This newfound freedom to interact with your cuddly (yes, even spiders) companions throughout the day is hugely beneficial. In a survey by the Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI), researchers found that 85% of respondents reported that pets help reduce loneliness, while 75% saw human-pet interactions as a way to address social isolation.
Along with these social benefits, pet ownership can result in several health benefits for employees in the work-from-home environment. Here are some of the most impactful.
Improved Physical Wellbeing
On the physical side, dogs are easily the most demanding pets—unless you own cheetahs or ostriches, of course. Puppies of all ages require regular walks for physical exercise, as well as mental stimulation throughout the day.
Dog owners get to enjoy these activities alongside their pets, keeping them active and energized. When working at home, it’s much easier to grab a leash, put on some running shoes, and head out the door on your breaks or after work. Daily exercise also releases mood-boosting endorphins for you and your pet, so it’s a win-win for physical and mental health.
Decreased Blood Pressure
The multitude of global events are causing increased stress for most of us, creating worry for the health and safety of those we love, so it’s comforting to know that our pets can help calm us and bring us joy and entertainment when we’re at home.
Several studies show that pet owners have lower blood pressure when faced with stressful situations. Whenever we spend time playing with our pets or caring for them, it can help take our minds off any external stressors, helping to limit any spikes in stress-related blood pressure. While at home, there’s nothing to stop you from interacting with your pets regularly, so whenever things get too stressful, go give Whiskers a quick cuddle.
Mental Health Improvements
How many times have you stared lovingly into your pet’s eyes? Probably not that much if you have a goldfish, but maybe you should start.
When dog owners, for example, stare into their pet’s eyes, both the owner and the dog get a boost in oxytocin, a feel-good chemical in the brain. Petting your animals also releases this chemical, as well as serotonin and dopamine, all of which boost your mood, improve your mental health, and help you bond with your pets.
Working from home can sometimes cause feelings of isolation, so these happy, fun moments in the company of our pets can help detract from that. Just don’t let it turn into a competitive staring contest because you will probably lose.
Cheaper Healthcare Bills
Okay, this isn’t exactly a direct health benefit, but it’s in the right wheelhouse.
Scientists have proven that pets help people stay healthy and avoid health issues, helping them save money on a personal, professional, and medical level. HABRI recently found that pet owners have saved $11.37 billion on visits to the physician’s office, while dog owners who walk their pets five or more times a week can prevent obesity, saving a total of $419 million in potential healthcare bills.
When working at home, employees get to spend much more time with their animals than they would in the office, so these savings are destined to become much higher as more people live the remote lifestyle. We just hope you’re spending those savings on more treats for Fido.
It’s not just humans that get the health benefits from working at home with their pets; our animals are getting a lot out of it too.
HABRI found that 38% of pet owners said their pets were happier having them at home, while 35% saw an increase in their playfulness. This happiness boost is probably down to all the extra love they’re receiving, with 65% of owners saying they’ve become more affectionate than when they were balancing the pressures of commuting to an office.
Overall, working at home with your pets is a positive thing for everyone, so if you’re not already raising some kind of fur, scale, or feather baby, maybe it’s time to consider it.