I have always loved dogs, but I never understood them until I got my Yorkie, Otis. Dogs always brighten my day, and I’m lucky enough to often have one as my coworker since I work from home frequently. At first, I thought he was just making me happy and reminding me to go outside every few hours, but I later found out that he was actually making me better at my job.

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A study from Virginia Commonwealth University found that employees who bring their dogs to work have lower levels of the stress-causing hormone cortisol. In 2012, Randolph Barker, a professor of management at a North Carolina dinnerware company that sees 20 to 30 dogs daily, conducted a study. After monitoring stress levels throughout the workday, researchers found that employees who brought their dogs to work reported a decrease of 11% on average, while those who did not bring their dogs with them saw an increase of 70%.

Not only does having a pet reduce stress levels, but there are multiple other benefits as well.

Your productivity increases

A dog encourages employees to take breaks, and come over and rub his belly, or play a quick game of fetch. These little periods of downtime allow the employee to regroup and therefore focus better when they get back to their desk.

Your creativity goes up

Dogs in the office have become more normalized, which helps to ease the tension and establish a creative environment where employees are free to think outside the box.

It makes everyone more social

Having a dog in the office can improve social interactions. You may find yourself becoming more friendly and bonding with others over your shared love of dogs.

It gets you outside

The dog has to be taken out, which gives you an opportunity to get some exercise and fresh air. This can help you stay refreshed and boost your productivity.