At a previous company I worked for, the employee that seemed to be experiencing the most stress or panic in the office was given a large pink plush pig who we coined the “stress pig”. The embarrassment of receiving the stress pig and the laughter that ensued usually made everything seem less important. Alternatively, this further angered the recipient, and the stress pig would get launched across the room in rebellion. Ironically, that reaction was just what they needed. So either way, the stress pig did his job.
When I left that job, stress pig stayed behind to continue his reign of anxiety relief. Luckily my new job had healthier versions of stress. Any stress I experienced at my new job was typically self-inflicted due to my excitement about a project which I would end up spending more time on. I realized that in comparison to my previous job, some stress is good for motivation, but too much stress can cause burn out.
So did I still need stress pig? Though there are no pigs in the Fairway office, they do allow furry friends (as long as they don’t bark and bite). And as an owner of three dogs, I was eager to have an opportunity to bring one or two of them to work with me on occasion. As a responsible dog owner, I didn’t want to leave them at home. Never did it occur to me that they would become Fairway’s version of a stress pig. I often notice if a co-worker is tromping by my desk in a seemingly stressed mood that it only takes a happy greeting from my dog to immediately change their whole demeanor. Whether it’s my French Bulldog’s hilarious under bite, the highly caffeinated excitement of my chiuawaa, or the quiet curiosity of my shy mix as she peeks around a corner, they always seem to put a smile on everyone’s face.
This got me to thinking about the benefits of having furry friends in the work place and I was happy to find that there is plenty of research out there on the subject. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that Fairway is not alone in allowing fur babies at work.
Most articles confirmed my suspicions.
“Stress is a major contributor to employee absenteeism, morale and burnout and results in significant loss of productivity and resources. But a preliminary study, published in the March issue of the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, found that dogs in the workplace may buffer the impact of stress during the workday for their owners and make the job more satisfying for those with whom they come into contact.” http://www.news.vcu.edu/news/Benefits_of_Taking_Fido_to_Work_May_Not_Be_Far_Fetched
And, I found that this is not a new concept amongst companies.
At Autodesk, “Employees can bring their dogs to work everyday. Almost everyone enjoys having dogs around during the day and it helps to break up the stress at times. Autodesk has been allowing dogs to come to work for approximately the past ten years.” http://www.dogfriendly.com/server/general/workplace/benefits.shtml
In my search for validation on this subject I also found that companies were reaping just as many benefits as the employees. So if you are a business owner in need of a stress pig, or just a new way to boost moral, consider allowing some furry friends in the office. On the other hand, if you are looking for a new job, you might want to add “allows pets” to your job search. I encourage you to start with the Fairway Careers page. Woof!
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