MORE than 70 per cent of people think stress levels would improve with animals in the workplace, according to new research commissioned by the Melksham firm which is the official sponsors of this Friday’s Bring Your Dog to Work Day.

Of the 1,500 Britons surveyed by independent research company, Ginger Research, found that 49 per cent specifically stated that they thought there should be more pet dogs in offices.

The findings show that animals could play a significant role in addressing the 15.4 million working days lost in the UK each year as a result of work-related stress, anxiety or depression1.

The research by Melksham-based Poppy’s Picnic found that Brits have over one working week every month of truly bad days where their mood doesn’t lift.

Poppy Picnic Founder, Dylan Watkins, said: “Bring Your Dog To Work Day is a fantastic initiative that raises money for dogs in need and sponsoring it did not need a second thought.

“A dedicated day for dogs in the workplace is a paw print in the right direction, however I’d love for it not to be a novelty to see dogs padding around an office.

“Dogs raise smiles among a workforce and if we humans had tails, they’d be wagging too when there’s one around!

“Our findings show that the nation is calling for support from four-legged friends. Employers should listen, especially given the increasing body of research.”

The research showed that spending a quarter of the working month miserable can have a significant effect on mental wellbeing. When asked how their bad mood manifested itself, 47 per cent said they didn’t talk to anyone, preferring to isolate themselves, and 28 per cent said they were quicker to anger.

Low mood and negativity has a direct impact on productivity, with over a quarter (27 per cent) admitting to not trying very hard at work, and 12 per cent skipping it altogether when in a bad mood.

As humans are leading extremely hectic lifestyles, it’s understandable that the somewhat permanent feeling of fight or flight follows us into the workplace.

Psychologist Becky Spelman said: “Sometimes there isn’t just one major source of stress, but rather a million tiny ones. The simple fact is that stress breeds stress. If you get stressed about something small, this will have both a psychological and a physiological impact on you.

"Stress breeding stress can filter through a workforce affecting colleagues also. This point is illuminated by 69 per cent admitting they cast an atmosphere in the office if they’re having a bad day and 11 per cent admitting their colleagues bear the brunt of their bad day."

Research has shown that the presence of dogs can have a therapeutic effect and can reduce conditions such as high blood pressure.

Studies have also shown that dogs have the power not just to reduce stress, but improve task performance, social interaction, productivity, wellbeing and even job satisfaction among employees.

The fortunate few that already have animals in the workplace (14 per cent), testified that they do indeed help their stress levels. Over a third (35 per cent) said they believed it would help them but bemoaned that their office doesn’t allow animals.

Nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of Brits agreed that animals in the office would help stress levels, but unfortunately don’t work in a suitable environment.

Up to 47 per cent of Brits said that playing with their pet and taking the dog for a walk were things that could lift them from a foul mood and nearly a third (30 per cent) said that playing with their pet would lift their spirits. 31 per cent said their pet is the one being that can cheer them up, more so than their friends (20 per cent).

Mr Watkins added: “Personally, I think that if dogs can be welcomed safely, they should be a regular feature in the workplace, as they are in ours.

“I’ve been fired from 13 jobs and now I’m a successful dog food entrepreneur with no less than 10 office dogs and a happy, productive workforce – perhaps I’m a case study in itself.”

Poppy’s Picnic is calling for as many suitable workspaces as possible to get behind the charitable day this Friday by using the hashtag #BringYourDogToWorkDay but also signify their support for long-term change by using the hashtag #BringYourDogToWorkWonders in addition.