Stress is one of the leading causing of sickness absence within UK businesses, so as an organisation taking steps to reduce the stress of your workforce can help you access a range of benefits. Typically, businesses looking at improving employee well being embark on initiatives such as healthy eating and exercise to prevent stress. Occupational health specialists also recommend quick referral to counselling or other services to help employees already struggling with stress or other mental health issues.
However, some organisations in the UK are employing innovative and unique methods to help individuals reduce stress. We recently reported on a hospital who are using laughter yoga to relax staff, but this week Nottingham Trent University, in preparation for the tough exam season, has announced its interesting pet therapy plans. The university has set up a micro pig room to help students relieve stress by cuddling up to these tiny piggies.
The university isn’t alone in its stress-busting efforts. Exeter University opened a pig room earlier in the month, while other universities like Leicester and Bristol have chosen puppies for their pet therapy. In addition to providing a welcome break from revision to alleviate exam anxiety, the rooms will raise money for charities.
Does it work?
Interaction with a gentle, friendly animal is said to have a number of benefits for health including:
- lowering blood pressure
- releasing endorphins which calm you
- improving cardiovascular health
- lowering physical pain
- and potentially even reducing the need for medication
So will we see more organisations and businesses embark on pet therapy to reduce stress in the office? Could the quick stroke of a pig calm your customer service reps when they’re dealing with angry customers, or help execs chill out before a tough presentation? Watch this space.