Animal lovers already know that most of the time, a stressful and difficult day at the office can be relieved by than their trusty pet. But now many are making the case that animals belong in the office for those exact benefits.
Le Soir outlined reasons why it would be beneficial to have a pet in the workplace, including that spending quality time with a pet immediately brightens up a person's day and makes them smile.
British research has also shown that there are reductions in stress levels when people spend time with companion animals.
In the United States, several companies are already taking the plunge and creating an animal-friendly workplace: employers such as Google, Amazon and Purina encourage their staff to be accompanied by their pets to work.
The results are extremely positive, according to a study by Virginia Commonwealth University.
Belgian companies not inclined to allow pets in the workplace
In Belgium, not many companies have followed suit and allowed pets in the office, but that could change should the advantages become wider known.
"Nowadays, the desire to perform is increasingly present in the work environment. Career is at the top of many people’s priority list, while health and adequate rest take a back seat," Le Soir writes.
"Several studies have shown that pets are scientifically good for your health. Pets are carriers of good microbes. Exposure to these good microbes strengthens your immune system and makes you less vulnerable to disease."
A dog, for example, needs to go out regularly, which allows its human to get some fresh air and exercise, too. A short walk can even boost creativity and productivity.
A cat, too, can help relieve stress by allowing people to disengage with work for a time by petting it and enjoying its soothing purrs.
Having pets around the workplace can reduce absenteeism
Another argument for allowing pets in the workplace is that having them around can make people healthier and therefore reduce absenteeism within a company.
Petting a dog or cat helps the body produce relaxation hormones and reduces levels of a number of stress-related hormones.
Animals also promote social interaction between people, with research showing that office animals have a positive influence on morale, communication and cooperation within teams. They create a warm atmosphere, a comfortable home environment while at work.
Employees are also more likely to step out of their comfort zone in discussion when a dog or cat is there to break the ice, and teams with an animal tend to work better together because they trust each other more.