28 December 2018
Just over a year ago, maybe a little longer, Gail and I noticed that there were a few four-legged friends in the office. A spaniel beside a desk, a Labrador under a seat, a whippet next to a whiteboard.
You’d be forgiven for completely missing that they were there. These puppy pioneers showed us that, actually, there’s no real reason not to welcome pets into the office. Of course, this meant that we had to put some ‘petiquette’ rules in place. These ensure that all pets are well behaved and toilet trained. We also made sure that colleagues in areas where pets are would be were comfortable around our canine companions.
As more dogs joined us, it became immediately clear just how much they boost everyone’s energy. West Highland terrier Snowy has become a permanent fixture on the top floor. She creates endless laughs with her inimitable personality and stubbornness to walk where she’s supposed to.
Equally, Suvi the Finnish Laphund never ceases to raise a smile as she heads around the office with a toy in her mouth, as her owner keeps our internal IT running.
Archie, Marshall, Casca, Chi, Pablo, Jasper, Boo, Nahla, Tess, Chester, Hugo, and many more are all dogs that we welcome into the office on a regular basis. Why? Because it’s a small concession that we can make as business owners to make balancing our team’s work and personal lives a little easier.
Gail and I have always been resolute that the workplaces we create are designed to help people live happier, healthier lives. That’s why we have a crèche and an improved maternity package. It’s also why we built an on-site gym and run fitness classes. And why we created sleeping pods and give flexibility when it’s needed. It’s almost impossible to manage balancing full-time work with a healthy personal and family life. When you add a pet into the mix, it is even more tricky! That’s also one of the reasons that we cut working hours last year. This equated to a further 3.5 weeks’ holiday for each team member.
Whilst it would be easy to assume that dogs become a huge distraction from the work that needs to be done, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that having them around boosts productivity. You only have to glance around the office to see the laughter, comfort and joy they bring to the people around them.
As long as everyone is comfortable around the animals and they are well behaved, it’s a win-win situation.
Would you take your pet into work? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.