It may seem impossible and somewhat unrealistic but, companies in Japan and USA have opened up their offices to include pets; most commonly cats and dogs.
What, working with furballs? What kind of insanity is this?
Through extensive research done over the decades, it is undeniable that pets have the unique ability to bring out the best sides of compassion, empathy, joy and a general “feel good” mood in almost all average human beings.
How does having a pet help? Pet/pets have been found to boost our oxytocin levels. Also known as the “bonding hormone” or “cuddle chemical,” oxytocin enhances social skills, decreases blood pressure and heart rate, boosts immune function and raises tolerance for pain. It also lowers stress, anger and depression.
With these research findings, it is no surprise then that keeping regular company with a dog or cat (or another beloved beast such as a snake or an eight legged tarantula) appears to offer all these same benefits and more. It is hard to be stressed when petting a cat/dog. When you are petting a cat/dog, they use their ‘magic’ to induce a sense of calm to the person.
For an example, cats purrs not only when it is happy, they purr when they are afraid and/or in pain. The vibrations from the cats purr have been known to have a very calming effect.
Since the year 2000, Ferray, an IT company in Tokyo has opened up their office to host a myriad of office cats. Not only is this company a home during the day for these feline friends, their founder had also introduced a rescue mission, which offers ¥5,000 a month to any staff who rescues a cat.
The office pets are not restricted to cats only.
At Oracle Corporation Japan, an Old English Sheepdog named Candy works as a “greeting and healing ambassador,” an office dog since 1991, and Candy, the fourth one, now has Twitter and Instagram accounts. Meanwhile, Pasona Group “hired” two goats in 2011 and two alpacas in 2013 as full-time employees, partly for healing purposes.
Having pets in the in the office isn’t without its complications. Pets do not care about your personal space or your impending deadlines. Allergy is another obvious problem. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology reports that about 10 percent of the population are allergic to pets — and cat allergies are twice as common as dog allergies. A simple solution might be to focus more on work-life balance than perks like office cats.
Working in an office 8 to 12/16 hours a day can be challenging and quite often stressful. Having a beloved pet to reduce stress and increase productivity might just be the answer to a healthier working environment.