The Big Question: What should you consider when bringing your pet to work?
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It may be a dog eat dog world out there, but some say having pets in the workplace can reduce stress. We hounded three business people to ponder the question...
Bring Your Dog to Work Day takes place next month - advocates say the presence of pets can substantially reduce a person's stress levels in the workplace, as well as contribute to increased job satisfaction, team co-operation and morale. But what should you bear in mind when allowing pets in the workplace?
'Our dogs remind staff of their own homes...'
Puffin, Dexter and Pepper are our dogs here at Barn Farm and it gives our staff a huge morale boost having dogs around. Dexter greets the staff every morning and the team love having a comforting cuddle with the dogs; some of them are a long way from home and they remind them of their own homes and the pets that they miss when they're working on the farm.
For us it's important that the dogs know which areas are off limits to them, We also need to know where they go exploring. Puffin is nearing retirement age so she doesn't wander far but there's no stopping Dexter! He wears a GPS tracker on his collar and has been known to cover as much as 16km in a day.
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For us having dogs in the office and around the farm is great. There's no better way to be greeted than with a wagging tail.
(Craig Williamson, managing director, Barn Farm Drinks)
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'Your pet's foibles may not be appreciated by colleagues..'
For those working from home, pets can provide calming company, a reason for much-needed screen breaks and time to step back and contemplate work away from the desk, while boosting those productive endorphins.
However, our four-legged friends may not be the most conducive companion for all working situations. As with all aspects of work, primary consideration should always be given to the individual experience and the suitability of the working environment to achieve the business objectives, whilst thinking of the wellbeing of the team.
In a shared environment, our pet's foibles may not always be appreciated by our colleagues; there are risks of potential allergies and anxiety from those who perhaps may not feel the same way about your four-legged friend.
We would recommend that companies have guidelines on pets at work that set-out clear expectations, while considering the suitability of the environment and duty of care for both its employees and their pets too.
(Carole Burman, managing director MAD-HR)
'High viz jackets are definitely a No, No...'
You do have to give your dog a while to settle into a new office. When we first moved into Orwell Landing, Monty would go mad at the sound of the doorbell, which could be disruptive.
You also need to be aware of the variety of visitors coming and going and not presume they'll all like dogs. When the water cooler company rep arrived with the water refills wearing an orange fluorescent jacket, Monty wasn't welcoming at all and chased him out. High viz jackets are definitely a 'No, No' with him. Consequently we are now all very aware of any couriers who arrive in high viz.
Other than that the staff just need to be aware that if there's any food about Monty will sniff it out.
Overall he's very much part of the team and definitely has a calming effect here. Clients enjoy seeing him and often ask where he is if he's not around. There's also no shortage of team members happy to give him a walk at lunchtime along the sea wall or into the park.
(Penny Arbuthnot, director, Genesis)