Why bringing a dog to work might be good for business
Sometimes being at work can be a real dog. Or, sometimes there can be real dogs at work.
For some Australian workplaces, inviting furry friends into the office has improved morale, staff loyalty, harmony and proven a winner when it comes to attracting and maintaining employees.
Whether the workplace is a creative agency, such as Marmalade in Melbourne’s inner northern suburb of Collingwood, or ecommerce site Vinomofo and any and all of the workplaces that invite dogs into their place of business, there’s definite benefits in doing so.
For a growing number of companies inviting dogs into the workplace facilitates opportunities for employees to interact with one another, to find a common interest in caring for an animal in their environment, and a reminder that there’s a life outside the office and immediate work pressures.
Those who identify as “dog people” know the pain of being separated from their beloved pets. So employers who have embraced dogs at work avoid bogus sick days, late arrivals and early departures to walk the dog while it’s still light, and extended lunchtimes where employees rush home to check on their furry friend.
Here are some of the workplaces with a “four paws friendly” policy.
“We’re very mindful of the dynamic in the agency,” says Victor Maree, managing director of Melbourne advertising agency Marmalade. “Interacting and working together is part of being creatively successful. Dogless days in the agency are very rare.”
Marmalade operates from an open-plan warehouse in Collingwood. With a small core staff and a tribe of freelancers working across different client projects, the environment is dynamic and creative. With clients from local councils through health organisations, food and fitness businesses, diversity and adaptability are at the core of their work.
Inviting dogs into the workplace is just one of the policies designed to make the environment feel inviting for employees and to ensure that they attract and retain the most talented staff by accommodating their pets.
“We recognise that we have to be able to offer our people a future and that we need to look after them when they’re here,” Maree says. “All we ask is that the work isn’t compromised and that colleagues aren’t let down.”
“Our office dog policy started when our social media & content manager Rosa rescued a beautiful Japanese Chin, named Keita,” explains Erin Sing, global PR for Vinomofo.
“Because of the life Keita had experienced prior to adoption, it was really important that it was in a loving, supporting environment at all times. So Keita comes in most days and is the face of many of our campaigns, but we have dogs of all shapes and sizes.”
Mofo HQ – as the Vinomofo headquarters is known – houses a tribe of experts in the wine industry, eCommerce, packaging and branding. Launched in 2011, Justin Dry and Andrew Eikmeier are the founders and “Digital Wine Guys” behind the brand. At the Cremorne office in Melbourne’s inner south, dogs are very much part of the family of about 100 staff.
“We love dogs so much, we have a public event dedicated to them called Puppies & Pinot,” says Sing.
“Our rules for having dogs are that we try to keep it to two or three dogs at a time, all dogs must be friendly, socialised and toilet trained, and our team has to keep their dogs with them throughout the day. If they’ve got a meeting they need to take the dog with them, for example.”
Marketing Services company Enero has eight agencies with the headquarters based in Pyrmont, Sydney. More than 300 employees have the opportunity to bring their “fur children” to work, though there’s a system to prevent chaos, says Melanie King, the group communications director.
“Enero has been dog friendly for about three years. There is a roster kept so that people bringing in their dogs is rotated – can’t have all the dogs all the time. There are about 15 dogs all up in the agencies, with four permitted in the office at any given time. People are limited to bring their dogs in to twice a month.”
There are dog etiquette rules that ensure the policy works to maintain productivity and peace.
“Dog owners who wish to bring their dog to work should be conscious that not everyone shares a love of dogs, some may be uncomfortable around dogs for cultural reasons, others may be scared of dogs or allergic to dogs. For this reason, dogs are to be kept under the direct care and control of the owner at all times,” says King.
Enero’s Dogs In The Workplace Checklist
Employees must complete the ‘Enero Dogs at Work’ application form and include a scanned copy providing proof of your dog’s up-to-date vaccination history.
All dogs attending work must be clean, calm, trained and capable of being a good colleague.
All dogs attending the office must be toilet trained and taken outside at regular intervals to avoid accidents. In the event of an accident, the owner is responsible for cleaning the affected areas to an acceptable standard as determined by the facilities team. Ongoing accidents will result in the dog being banned.
Excessive barking and/or aggressive dogs will not be tolerated and the company reserves the right to ban any dog that demonstrates anti-social behaviour.
Dogs must be kept out of food preparation areas and dog owners must bring their own water bowls and dry food bowls to work. Under no circumstances should crockery from the kitchens be used for your dog.
Please do not bring your dog to work on days when you have external client meetings. Other employees in the office are not responsible for looking after your dog in your absence.
Gerard Cole Property
The faithful, bubbly and affectionate companion of Gerard Cole and Lisa Liu. Charlie is a wonderful addition to our Gerard Cole Property team and goes above and beyond with his receptionist and client relations role. In addition to his professional career, Charlie’s exceptionally handsome looks has landed him in modelling roles as the brand ambassador for Gerard Cole Property and is regularly featured in our marketing campaigns such as Christmas / New Year and Chinese New Year greetings. His passions and interests includes: taking naps, treats, playing with his favourite ball, long walks in the park, exploring new places, belly rubs and hanging out with his best friend Bing, the next door office dog who visits regularly.
The next door office dog and Charlie’s best friend. Bing may be smaller than Charlie, however he possess the attitude and mentality of a much larger dog and is not afraid to stand his ground against much larger beings. In addition to his adorable good looks, his strong points includes lighting fast reflexes, acute sense of smell and persistent enthusiasm and vibrant personality no matter what day and time it is.
Source: Contributing Writers. “Why bringing a dog to work might be good for business”, Commercial Real Estate News. April 23, 2019.