P.For those who do not have a furry friend in the family, it can be difficult to understand how taking the dog to the office can change their life. Maybe there is a fear that it will annoy and cause allergies, bark and dirty, bite or shed hair everywhere. In reality, the research proves that pet owners are right. THE pet they help to relieve the stress and increase the sense of loyalty to the company, allowing a more agile reconciliation between work and family life. Not only that, methey love him the moral of the whole office: not only of their owners.
Working alongside your dog is an experience that, due to smart working, had become normal for many. This World Dog Day in the office, June 24, 2022, therefore has a special flavor. Established in England under the name of Take Your Dog To Work Day at the end of the 90s, it is above all an occasion to remind us that a different way of working is possible.
But more and more companies, in the aftermath of the pandemic, in this hybrid phase of face-to-face and smart working, seem willing to try to make it a reality.
There is no legislation but… it can be done!
Currently in Italy there is no legislation governing the presence of animals in the workplace: they are allowed in some startups or private studios, where the work environment is informal and there are many young employees. They are welcome in the Milan office of Google, where they are nicknamed “doogler” (from the merger of dog with the company name). They can then be taken, for example, to the offices of Unicredit, Boehringer Ingelheim and the Scuola Holden in Turin.
But also in the public, in the municipalities of Crema and in that of Milan (Palazzo Marino provides for the possibility of this in the Regulations for the welfare and protection of animals, approved in 2020, but the pandemic so far has not given incentives to take advantage of it). They follow the example of the municipalities of Genoa and Castel San Giovanni, in the province of Piacenza, the first Italian municipality to allow bringing a dog into the office since 2017.
Where do we start from? Companies that offer support to others
Reality like Mars Italy or Purina Italia (with the Pets at Work Alliance), who have four legs in their core business, are then engaged in support programs for other companies who want to get in their wake and start taking the dog to the office. Because, beyond the sympathy for the four legs, we need agreements, some fixed rules and some clever tricks.
“With us the dog can be brought into the office for 10 years”, explains Ilaria Bottazzi, of Mars Italia. “And we are so happy with the experience that we are happy to try to infect other companies, with a view to creating better cities to live in. Starting from the workplace ». In Mars Italia they call it “paradigm of the Future of Work: people at the center, sustainability and four-legged friends always by your side “.
The benefits: reduces stress, improves relationships and business loyalty
From an internal research conducted by the Mars Group, always 100% pet friendlyit appears that the 64% of respondents own a pet and as many as 96% are convinced that they should take it to the office with them cheer up everyone’s working hours, positively affecting the entire work environment. The equation, when DNA is pet friendly, is positive vibes – better office. It is proved in fact (for example from research PAW barometer of Banfield Pet Hospital) that the presence of four-legged friends in the office reduces stress (93%), improves relationships (79%) and helps to increase attachment to the company (91%).
A survey to understand the interest of colleagues
But let’s go step by step: to understand if the initiative can take hold in an office, you must first map the interest. «It is convenient do an internal survey, to understand how many employees would like to take part and if others still have fears and qualms»Explains Bottazzi. If the hostility is more and obstinate, it is useless to embark on the enterprise.
Considering the ever-increasing number of pets in Italian homes (64.8 million according to the Assalco 2021 report), there is a good chance that hostility, if any, is above all mistrust. Easy to break down by offering guarantees and reassurance.
Rules to be established and 100% responsibility of the owner
It is in fact essential to have a policy, a series of rules that dog owners must strictly comply with: “In the case of Mars Italia, every dog, which must be up to date with vaccinations and microchipped, is given a sort of badge . His presence in the office must be booked the day before ». This avoids excessive crowding: usually there are about 6-7 dogs in an open space.
The employee is 100% responsible for his animal: “Beyond the breed, it must be a socialized dog, able to sit quietly next to his master, with his bowl of water,” explains Bottazzi. In the case of meetings that the furry dog cannot attend, it can be entrusted to a colleague. He will be taken for a walk when needed and may not have access to the refreshment areas.
Coded rules aside, there are also some precautions that may be useful to adopt. “For example, dedicating a lift to those arriving with the dog: all employees can take it, of course, but they must know that there could be a four-legged friend.”
The story of Laura and her dachshund in the office
Works? Works. As testifies historyone among many, by Laura Mattiangeli and her Rider: she is a young manager responsible for Logistics Planning for Mars South Europe, he is an adopted dachshund dog by Laura during the pandemic and her team returning to the office (he was the first four-legged friend to visit the threshold of the new premises, which the Mars Group – with the companies of the Royal Canin Group and Anicura Italia – inaugurated a few days does). “I enjoy sharing my workspace with him», Says Laura,« But also sharing him with my colleagues. In other words, I like that people who, in life, may not be able to adopt a dog, can take advantage of his presence and his desire to cuddle. Those who want to take a break during the working day can count on a few minutes of play with Rider. Affectionate, however, it is one of those four legs who knows how to stand in his place, next to the mistress.
Other tips for a good coexistence? The experts of MYLAV.
A dedicated corner
Reserve a dedicated corner for him, even if our office is not very big: to help him feel at home, it can be enough a cloth that he knows and of which he can recognize the smell. Better, then, if the corner of him is prepared in sight of the owner, with a bowl of water, a toy and some crunchy, in a quiet place and not in transit.
Keep an eye on your “colleagues”
It is advisable to let him know in advance the other dogs who will live in the same office, perhaps with a walk together, and check that none of them are uncomfortable, tense or excited.
… And to “your”
Pay attention to the “cuddles” of colleagues if he does not want to: bIt is necessary to explain how the dog loves to be stroked and that if you approach it you have to do it with some precautions (do not touch his head but in places that are pleasant for him, such as under the chin or on the chest), respecting his hours of rest.
Pay attention to his character
If the dog is particularly lively, let’s bring some natural chewable (deer horn, coffee or olive wood, heather root) or mind activating game. Crucial to carve out the time for take him for a walk: he needs it and it’s good for us too. Finally, let’s keep our eyes peeled: not all dogs feel comfortable in a work environment, even if this allows them to be close to their master. If we see that the dog in the office is not comfortable, let’s not take him anymore.
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