Pick up a Lead not a Brief Case

Opening the door of VetShopAustralia as a new employee, I was greeted instantly by Matilda and Hendrix; a purebred Australian Cattle Dog and German Shepherd respectively. I was to discover that VetShopAustralia has been a pet-friendly workplace since its inception in 1999! Employees are welcome to bring their pets to the office; after a health check by the in-house Vet, Dr. Mark. At first, I considered this unusual, but fitting for a company that puts animal care first. Upon reflection; I realised that dogs have many roles in the workplace. A dog and fish at both my local mechanic and hairdresser also amuse customers in their waiting rooms. Dogs have increasingly assumed positions of vital importance and responsibility in the workforce over the last century. As intelligent animals with a heightened sense of smell, compared to humans, they actually do specific jobs better than we do! Careers where being canine is a prerequisite include:
    Phoenix at work
  • Guide Dogs: aid the vision impaired 
  • Herding Dogs: assist in the mustering of cattle and sheep
  • Guard Dogs: protect private property
  • Therapy Dogs: provide comfort and entertainment for the ill and elderly
  • Police/ Sniffer Dogs: aide investigations to find illegal drugs and imports
  • Search Dogs: find missing people 
  • Sled Dogs: assist in the transportation of people and goods in the snow
Even when a dog doesn’t hold an official role in the workplace, companies worldwide are still finding reasons to introduce pets into their workplace. In 2010, a study by Central Michigan University found that people working in groups are more cooperative when a dog is a member of the team. A Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia, Dr Lisa Wood, has also published information to help Australian local government organisations review how pets can strengthen communities. She claims pet friendly work environments reduce stress, increase productivity, boost morale and strengthen employee relationships.

This initiative is becoming universally widespread, with businesses in Taiwan and the USA in particular embracing pets. Multinational Corporation Google is among them, their Code of Conduct stating “We’re a dog company”. However, owners should always assess whether their pet is suited to their work environment, before introducing them to the workplace. For example, territorial or untrained dogs could potentially disrupt other employees.

Clearly, pet friendly workplaces can provide the ultimate work / life balance we all strive to achieve.  Dogs really are a productive member of the workforce, so why not investigate making your work pet friendly? I would recommend it.

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