Since the end of health restrictions and telecommuting, some companies have allowed their employees to take their dog to the workplace to facilitate their return to the office. Examples in Ottawa.
Perched on all fours, wagging her tail as visitors arrive, “Daisy” looks after the well-being of the Tungsten Collaborative team in Ottawa. The dog, like many other pets, has the right to go to the office with her owner, who worked from home during the pandemic. The 12-year-old blonde Labrador sniffs the workspace for something to eat or play with. At this Canadian design firm, which has about ten employees, roam other dogs, such as “Delilah” the basset hound, “Eevee” the English greyhound, and “Hudson”, a German shepherd puppy, who barks to be noticed.
“Daisy” is an “integral part” of the company. On the company’s website, she poses among the team members and is even entitled to a short biography. “We encourage people who have pets to bring them” into the office, says Tungsten Collaborative President Bill Dicke. “You develop this relationship with your pet at home and then all of a sudden you go back to work, and he has to be crated for the day or walk around the house alone,” laments the 47-year-old trainer, who feels that this “isn’t is fair” to the animal. According to him, the pandemic has made companies more tolerant of the presence of pets at work.
In the office kitchen, bowls arranged in a row on the floor are used to give the dogs water during the day. These sometimes sleep at the foot of chairs, chew toys or run towards a bouncing ball in the hallway. Adding the Tungsten Collaborative to the Humane Society’s list of dog-accepting companies has boosted business activity and increased staff productivity, Dicke said.
According to a recent survey by Léger conducted for PetSafe, one in two Canadians (51%) supports the idea of bringing their dog to the office. This proposal is particularly appreciated by younger people: 18% of workers aged between 18 and 24 say they would change companies if their employer refused them this option. Faced with the roughly 200,000 Canadians who have adopted a cat or dog during the pandemic, employers who demand the in-person return of their employees may be forced to consider relaxations.
“He loves to come to work”
Still in Ottawa, this time within the Chandos Bird construction joint venture, the designers of a nuclear research lab are visibly moved by the presence of Samson, a 10-year-old blond Yorkshire terrier. His master, Trevor Watt, didn’t want to leave him alone in his new home when he returned to the office in January. Bringing him in should be a temporary solution. Not only did he adapt to office life, but he also won over his fellow masters, who now share tours with Samsão. “He loves coming to work,” says Trevor Watt, who appreciates “not having to worry about him.”
But the presence of man’s best friend at work can pose some challenges, for example, for employees who are allergic to animals or those who are afraid of them. Samson stays on a leash when Trevor Watt’s co-star, terrified of dogs, is nearby.