Can Owning a Pet Improve Mental Health While Working from Home?


Are you working from home these days? Do you miss interacting with your coworkers in person? Do you feel like your mental health has taken a hit from working at home, or from the pressures of your demanding job? Luckily, owning a pet can significantly help improve your mental health and help you to be a more productive employee.

Reduces Stress

Most people encounter stressful situations when working. According to a recent health statistic, 80% of employees noted that they have encountered stress at work. Obviously stress is bad from an organizational standpoint because it can cause employees to make mistakes, become burnt out, create a negative organizational culture, and so on. In addition, people who deal with high stress levels can develop health problems such as high blood pressure, depression, heart problems, etc.

Recent research has indicated that owning a pet can reduce stress. This is because pets help take our mind off of stressful situations, and they allow us to take periodic breaks. In a biological sense, when you socially interact with a pet, whether at your home or in the office, your body increases production of oxytocin, a feel good hormone. Overall, owning a pet allows you to lower stress levels, which can help you to become a more productive employee.

Increases Productivity

When employees are underperforming, they can cause an organization to miss meeting their goals and objectives. Furthermore, unproductive employees can lead to inefficiencies and a waste of resources. Employees can become unproductive when they are unmotivated or when they experience burnout. Hence, it is important to know how to properly motivate employees and how to deal with burnout.

Luckily, owning a pet can help you become more productive and motivated. When working at home with a pet, you will be forced to take many periodic breaks. For example, you will have to take your dog out several times, feed your pet, etc. Taking little breaks can help prevent burnout and unproductivity because you won’t be endlessly working for the whole day.

Decreases Loneliness

Working remotely has many benefits, but it also has disadvantages. One drawback is loneliness. Working remotely prevents employees from interacting with each other, outside of meetings. In other words, it prevents water cooler conversations or forming interpersonal relationships with coworkers. Workplace loneliness is bad for employees because it can cause them to become less motivated, leading to possible mental health problems. For example, loneliness can contribute to depression, anxiety, and increased stress.

However, owning a dog can decrease loneliness by giving you a coworker when you’re working remotely. Instead of being home alone all day staring at a computer screen, your dog will be constantly by your side. As mentioned before, you will be interacting with them, as you have to take care of them.

Keeps Us Active

It’s well known that sitting and working 40 plus hours a week is not good for our physical health. It can allow you to put on extra weight, get out of shape, and can lead to heart problems. Likewise, sitting and working all day can allow negative thoughts about how inactive and out of shape you might become to enter your mind. At the end of the work day, you might be too tired to want to move.

On the other hand, owning a pet forces you to move and become more active. For example, owning a dog requires you to take them out multiple times a day. More times than not, they will want to go on long walks and explore.

You might even wish to go on runs, bike, or hike with your dog, as you become more active together. As a word of caution, make sure you properly stretch before you do any intense physical activity with your dog. The last thing you want to do is to miss work and stress because you injured yourself. 

At the same time, you want to make sure your pet is well protected from obtaining serious injuries too. Pet insurance is a great way to help keep your furry friend safe from unexpected injuries and illnesses. Looking into what is pet insurance and how does it work will allow you to avoid financial hardship, while being able to best protect your furry friend. Pet insurance can even help you make stressful situations less worrisome, ultimately reducing additional stress and improving your mental health.

Encourages Social Interactions

Whether in the office, working remote, or just out and about, humans are social beings. Social interactions are a necessity in the workplace. They allow employees to take breaks from their challenging tasks, bounce ideas off each other, and help facilitate higher job satisfaction and productivity. Conversely, working remotely makes it harder for employees to socialize with their employees and people in general.

Thankfully, owning a pet allows you to become a more social person both at work and in your personal life. When you meet new people on video calls and meetings, introducing yourself and stating that you own a dog or cat is a fantastic way to create similarities with others. Afterall, according to a recent global statistic, 57% of people own a pet. This means that there is a good chance someone in your meeting owns a pet and has a similar interest. 

If you wish to go one step further, you could try to organize a pet club at work. For instance, you can try to form a meet-up with employees outside of work to volunteer at a local animal shelter. This would be a great way to interact with your coworkers non-virtually. Overall, creating connections with your coworkers by sharing similar interests will allow you to feel more unity at work. Owning a pet can allow you to create workplace friends and to become more productive because you will not want to let your coworkers down.

Owning a pet is beneficial for your mental health and can help you become a more effective employee. It’s long been stated that pets are our best friends, but maybe they are also our best coworkers!

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