Are you a dog person? If not, you may want to warm up those furry would-be friends–for the sake of your career.
A recent study from Central Michigan University found that having dogs in the office might encourage more collaboration and ethical behavior. The researchers experimented by including a dog with small work groups, and found that not only did the four-legged member of the team smooth over awkwardness as an easy topic of discussion, but also that an office dog prompted more frequent and deeper conversation.
“When you have the ability to talk about something unique to the group, it creates a badge of identity and a stronger feeling of group togetherness,” researcher Matt Christensen told the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. He explained that since workers are often collaborating, his team wanted to see if they could create the trust needed for effective work between colleagues on an accelerated time frame and allow workers to be more productive sooner.
The study found that the teams working with dogs present reported higher levels of satisfaction and interaction, but there was no significant improvement in their quality of work. The researchers speculate might be because the dogs could be initially distracting. To combat this, the researchers recommend bringing in only well-trained dogs to the office, and allowing them to interact with the co-workers before actual work needs to take place.
No word yet on office cats.