The Impact of Pets on Mental Health and Work Productivity
Recent studies show that more than 20% of the United States’ workforce is now working from home, and up to 30% could be working from home, multiple days per year, by the end of 2021. Today, this means that where you used to get a sense of community from going into the office, you now must find over virtual meetings and conference calls.
One way to adjust to this new normal and make your new home office a little less lonely is to share the space with a pet. While you can’t bounce your ideas off of them, there are many benefits to working from home with a pet by your side.
Studies have shown that pets can be used as emotional support to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Some of the ways that they do this are by encouraging exercise and easing loneliness. Studies have also shown that people with dogs tend to have lower blood pressure. Having an animal as a loving companion will drop cortisol levels and raise oxytocin and dopamine levels in your brain.
I think it goes without saying that when your mental health in a good place, you will do better at your job. You will be able to be more productive, clear-headed, and focussed when you are in a good headspace. Also, if you choose to bring them to sit in on a virtual zoom meeting, it can help elevate the mood of your team, and bring something to bond over.
Now let’s get into work stress. According to stress.org and Wrike’s, in 2019, 94% of American workers report experiencing stress at their workplace. Around 23% of them described their stress levels as high, while 6% said their levels of stress were unreasonably high.
How can we use these mood-boosting companions to help with this problem?
According to adaa.org, in a recent survey of pet owners, 74% of pet owners reported mental health improvements from pet ownership, and 75% of pet owners reported a friend's or family member's mental health has improved because of the pets in their lives.
We all know that work can be stressful, not to mention all of the added stress that’s come with the year 2020. We’re facing extreme isolation, changes in both work life and home life, financial stress, political and societal distress, and the list goes on and on. While it may seem like everything around you is working to force your mental health into a decline, remember to focus your energy on the things that WILL improve your health. And if you don’t have a pet at home to work with, maybe it’s time that you consider getting one. 2020 may just be your year for that.
The Rivvly Team