There are so many benefits to owning an emotional support animal (ESA). Besides having a constant companion to help soothe symptoms of mental illness, ESAs can actually help make you more successful professionally as well. Wondering what the connection is between emotional support animals and work? Read on for more info about why your ESA can make you a boss at work.
What are ESAs?
ESAs are animals (traditionally, dogs and cats) that provide reliable support for their owners. They can be used to help with symptoms of a variety of mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more. With an ESA, you might find that your symptoms are alleviated or even resolved because of your animal’s ability to calm and comfort you. Just by owning an ESA, you could feel a little safer in the world. This means you could end up feeling more secure, which can then lead to increased feelings of confidence. If you’re wondering, “Do emotional support animals help motivation levels?”, the answer is yes! Being better motivated then means you can more easily achieve your goals (whether that’s in therapy, at home, at work, etc.).
Do ESAs help work life?
There are a number of ways that an ESA can help you in your professional life. One of the most important aspects is that they can give you more confidence. This can help you be more successful, whether you work in an office or at home; having your ESA by your side can help you strive to reach more of your goals. A recent study conducted for Banfield Pet Hospital by Kelton Global Research surveyed more than 850 professionals in a variety of careers throughout the U.S. to discover the role of owning pets has on our careers. Many top executives noted that owning a pet has taught them invaluable lessons, such as responsibility, creativity, empathy, discipline, and organization – all of which can be vital in order to have a thriving career.
Not only can having an ESA provide help with mental illness symptoms, but they can also make you more successful in your workplace overall. For example, according to the study, 86% of those pet owners said owning their pets helps them stick to a routine, better manage their time, and be more efficient with multitasking. The study even suggested that people can form better connections to their coworkers that also own pets. More than 80% of the individuals surveyed noted that they felt more connected to colleagues who were pet owners and 79% believed that their coworkers who owned pets were hard workers. Your ESA might also give you inspiration to do well in your job – 7% of executives surveyed said they brainstormed business ideas while walking their dogs!
Can I take my ESA to work?
If you’re trying to figure out, “How can I take my ESA to work?”, there are a couple of strategies you can try. First, ask for a meeting with your direct supervisor or your boss. You might want to consider also asking for an HR representative to be present if you have one at your office (they can ensure that your boss is adhering to all company policies). You don’t have to divulge your specific mental health diagnosis, but you should discuss with them your need for your ESA to accompany you to work. Try to touch on why you think your ESA could help you to be more productive or successful in your position (and how not having your ESA could negatively impact your work performance).
It’s always a good idea to present your ESA certification (which you can get through MooshMe if you don’t have one already), along with a letter from your mental health professional, verifying your need for an ESA. Because ESAs are not the same as service animals, you do not have specific workplace rights regarding your ESA. However, there are some job sites that might be willing to work with you to let you bring your ESA with you. If your job has a strict no-pets policy, inquire if you might be able to telecommute or work from home some days to allow you to be near your ESA. Some workplaces actually encourage their employees to bring their pets to work, so you might want to consider switching to a job with this flexibility if your current workplace won’t budge on their restrictions.
Guidelines for bringing an ESA into the workplace
If your superiors grant you permission to bring your ESA to work with you, there are some things you should keep in mind. First, you should only consider bringing your ESA into your workplace if they’re well-trained. You don’t want to bring in a dog that has accidents or wrecks the place. Basically, you should be totally respectful of your coworkers – it’s understandable that they wouldn’t want to work in an environment with a loud, barking dog. Likewise, keep your ESA at home if you aren’t 100% sure that they can behave well in a public setting or around new people. You’ll want to avoid any situations where your dog has the potential to bite or hurt anyone. If you’re confident your ESA is well-behaved and won’t cause any disturbances to the people working around you, you should be fine bringing them with you.
ESAs and work can go hand-in-hand. You can use your ESA at your workplace to help ease your symptoms and to help you feel more confident and motivated during your workday. Not only will you see your productivity rise, but you might also find that it’s easier for you to better manage your symptoms and stay comfortable and secure in your workplace. Take advantage of your ESA’s support, and you just might find you’re more successful in your career too!