Canine companions take to offices across the region
By Andrew Wright.
Britain is very much a pet-loving nation. With this in mind, it is of little surprise that nearly 9 million households in the UK have a dog. More than just pets, our animals often become an intrinsic part of the family, and our interaction with them has become key to our everyday routines.
Often busy routines; with many of us setting off early for the daily grind, and an eight hour separation, our furry friends can be sorely missed.
Today, however, offers a short remedy for this, in the form of ‘Bring Your Dog to Work Day’, an initiative which encourages employees to bring their beloved pet into the workplace, whilst raising money for charity. One of these charities is All Dogs Matter, an organisation which rescues and rehouses dogs and endorses the notion that ‘Bring Your Dog to Work Day’ can increase productivity and promote employee wellbeing. Surely then, a win-win situation?
Primarily, detractors may point to the presence of animals not being conducive to a functioning working environment, with the ‘Health and Safety police’ going one step further and deeming that the workplace is a wholly unsuitable arena for pets. It could be further argued that places of work dealing with food or expensive machinery and equipment would be at odds with a bounding labrador.
Subsequently, the view that the presence of a pet would relieve stress and increase productivity would be negated when taking into account the constant maintenance of feeding, watering and walking a dog requires. Not to mention the stress levels created if a colleague harbours a fear of dogs, or is prone to allergies.
Moreover, those who feel that dogs do not belong in the workplace would say that nobody wants to tuck into their lunch with the smell of dog hanging in the air, or have to watch the unsightly spectacle of Coco relieving herself on Neil from accounts (Coco is a dog by the way!)
Not that this is a view shared by this writer, of course. I only highlight supposed drawbacks to provide a balanced view, so to speak, but in truth it neglects the core spirit of this initiative. The main aim is charitable and admirable; protecting revered pets from harm. It seems our neighbours across the pond have already fully embraced the idea of Fido or Rover becoming a permanent fixture in the workplace, with huge companies such as Google and Ben and Jerry’s holding ‘Bring Your Dog to Work Days’ on a regular basis.
Studies carried out in the States have unequivocally concluded that dogs in the workplace relieve stress, boost morale amongst workers with their sense of fun, and ultimately improve productivity, which is surely beneficial for the company as well as the worker – many of whom would arguably enjoy heightened job satisfaction. This is something business leaders across Liverpool are in support of.
Dr Arun Ghosh, a private GP, agrees that wellbeing can improve with a four-legged friend around:
“Pascal is my nine month old Bolognese pup and by far the most popular member of the team at Ghosh Medical.
“The Ghosh Medical office is run from my home on the Wirral, where you’re likely to find Pascal running about excitedly. Of course, we see most of our patients at our Rodney Street clinic – a strictly Pascal-free zone – but can see visitors at our office for initial consultations and the likes. We always check that patients are comfortable with Pascal around, but more often than not find that they love his company. A twenty minute consultation can take hours with Pascal around, people just fall in love with him.
“Of course it breaks our day up too, he’s the perfect distraction from the mountains of daily admin work. There’s something about having a furry friend running around that just can’t fail to brighten up your day. There’s been research in the US to suggest that pets in the workplace can significantly reduce stress and improve overall wellbeing, and from my experience, I couldn’t disagree.”
Joanne Dalton, partner at MSB Solicitors and confessed dog-lover, couldn’t agree more, with her dog Harvey a regular fixture in the office. She said:
“I started bringing Harvey into work when I was having some work done at home and he has come in ever since. I like to get into the office early and it was unfair to leave him on his own for such a long time. I’m lucky that our managing partner is so relaxed about me bring him to work, it has really helped me.
“Harvey has become a much loved member of the team at MSB.I do think he brings lots of joy to others though, with his playfulness and cheeky grin. I know not everyone is in a position to be able to take their
dog to work, but I’d recommend anyone who can does, it really does have a
positive impact on people’s day.”
Peter Taafe, of BWMacfarclane, concurs that the happy nature of his beloved Emer certainly lifts the mood in the rest of the office, and said:
“Emer is my seven-year-old Labradoodle who has been coming into the office with me pretty much from day one. She likes to keep me company while I work and have the occasional wander around to check on the rest of the office too – she’s my most trusted supervisor.
“We have a lot of young apprentices at BWMacfarlane and it can sometimes be a bit of a battle over who takes her for walks. She’s a bit of an ‘it girl’ and a regular fixture around Liverpool One.
“She was also a huge hit at our Christmas party and particularly enjoyed hoovering the office after guests had left!”
“Lots of the team here agree that the mood lifts when Emer is around. Her happy nature is infectious and she certainly raises lots of smiles on those days she joins me at the office.”
Frances Molloy, chief executive at Health@Work, is quick to echo the notion that dogs can certainly lift spirits in the workplace, and has her trusty companion Bess at her side when commuting. She said:
“Health@Work support this initiative and think it’s a great way to unite and destress the workplace. Dogs will help you connect with employees you wouldn’t normally speak to, and relax you when times get tough.”
Aside from the benefits to overall wellbeing and productivity in the workplace, a dog can be an excellent way to promote tranquility and provide stress relief. The companionship of dogs has proven to be therapeutic in an occupational manner for people with ADHD, ADD and those on the autistic spectrum, making the working environment more comfortable.
Above all, it is a fun, enjoyable way to spend a Friday afternoon at the office and a talking point for animal lovers to extoll the virtues of their pet and revel in the joys their animals bring to them.
‘Bring Your Dog to Work Day’ is a national initiative in its 20th year and as always is being fully embraced by businesses across Liverpool, with the region’s workforce gearing up for the event today.
Today, offices and workspaces across Liverpool will be celebrating their prized pooches and enjoying a productive, stress-free day in the company of ‘Man’s best friend.’