According to a Bloomberg study, South Africa’s stress rates are at number two in the world. Okay, we’ll take that with a pinch of salt, but there’s certainly no doubt we South Africans have a lot to be stressed about. And apparently, we’re a nation of workaholics according to another global study by Ipsos and Reuters, which showed that more than half of us do not take our annual leave! This makes the office environment a pretty tense place.
Some companies are taking this into account and looking to ways of de-stressing staff and their boosting morale. Enter the four-legged, fluffy stress reliever – pet dogs!
For example Mars Multisales Africa has held a Take Your Dog To Work week this week. Research has shown that pet owners have ‘healthier physiological responses to stress’ and the company is aiming to ‘use the health benefits of dog ownership to achieve an ideal work life balance – a top determining factor for a great place to work in South Africa’.
The company states: ‘The latest Banfield Pet Hospital (part of global Mars Petcare) PAWrometerTM (PAW = Pets at Work) surveyed 1 000 employees and 200 human resource decision makers from a mix of company sizes and industries in early 2017. The study explored perceptions of pet-friendly workplaces and found that permitting pets in the workplace has a positive impact overall on employees’.
The top five areas of improvements as a result of implementing pet-friendly policies include:
1. employee morale (93 percent)
2. reduced stress among employees (93 percent)
3. work-life balance (91 percent)
4. greater loyalty to the company (91 percent)
5. reduced guilt among pet owners about leaving their pets at home (91 percent).
The WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition (also part of global Mars Petcare) has completed additional research, who revealed that dogs in the workplace had a generally positive effect on the working environment and reduced employee stress.
Brian Ayling GM at Mars Multisales Africa said, “It’s true – bringing your dog to work is good for you! Dogs in the office can offer a sense of comfort, relieve stress, increase physical activity and even improve productivity. Having pets in the office is one of many ways we aim to make the world a better place for pets.”