Dogs To Work
We’ve “taken our daughters to work,” and our sons, but what about a “Take Your Dog to Work Day?” A recent study by Virginia Commonwealth University, in conjunction with the VCU Center on Human-Animal Interaction, suggests stress levels in the office could be reduced by implementing such a policy. The study, published in the March issue of the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, is the first quantitative attempt to suggest dogs’ presence in the workplace may reduce stress for employees and make the work environment more satisfying.
The study examined differences in levels of stress, job satisfaction and organizational commitment between employees who bring their dogs to work, those who have dogs but do not bring them to work, and those who do not own dogs. It was conducted at Replacements, Ltd., a 450-employee retail business in Greensboro, North Carolina, where some 20 dogs were on campus daily for the week-long study. The difference in perceived stress between the days dogs were present and absent was significant—employees reported higher job satisfaction with dogs in the workplace. Researchers also reported that stress rose greatly throughout the day for owners who left their dogs at home, compared to the days they brought them to work.
The study also showed a reduction in the stress levels of non-dog owners. Researchers observed them asking co-workers if they could walk the dogs on their breaks—requests advantageous to the workplace overall. Small exercise breaks can increase endorphin levels, contribute to elevations in mood and energy, and decrease anxiety and stress, thereby improving employee performance, productivity and satisfaction.
With dogs used in hospitals to provide therapy services and assistance for the blind, autistic, elderly and more, it’s really no surprise that man’s best friend would contribute positively to the workplace as well. iBi
According to IBM’s latest Global CEO Survey, more than 1,500 international CEOs from 33 industries believe that successful navigation in today’s complex business environment will require creativity—more than rigor, management discipline, integrity or vision. The study showed that 60 percent of CEOs name “industry transformation” as the leading contributor to uncertainty in business, ahead of changes in government regulations, shifting global economic power centers, increasing volumes of data and evolving customer preferences.
Appointments Made Easier
Small businesses may benefit from Groupon’s new scheduling tool released last month—now free to companies that use the popular Chicago-based savings site. The tool allows small business clients to book appointments more easily for deals bought through groupon.com. Customers can book reservations directly to redeem their Groupons, while small business owners can manage their schedules online, track customer histories and send appointment reminders. See groupon.com/scheduler for more info.
Web-based email usage is on the decline, perhaps permanently, according to the 2012 “U.S. Digital Future in Focus” report by comscore.com. The study says email use by teens ages 12 to 17 is down 31 percent from last year, while age 18 to 24 is down 34 percent. The major factor seems to be the increase in texting using mobile devices and tablets, as well as communicating via social media. For the first time, email’s overall usage slipped below 10 percent of users’ total time spent online, the report says.