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Dogs in the workplace: a grrrrreat idea or barking mad?

Multi-national food and health giant Nestle agrees with this sentiment

The company is currently rolling out an initiative within a Switzerland-based office allowing employees to bring their four-legged friends into work with them. Around 15 employees within the Purina office – a pet food brand owned by the conglomerate – have taken Nestle up on its offer and a variety of breeds have been spotted accompanying their owners to the office.

Why is this initiative being rolled out? Experts agree that dogs are sociable animals that benefit from human interaction. Being alone all day is not good for them and allowing them to go to work with their owners is a basic way of responding to their needs.

It seems that humans can also benefit from the presence of dogs in the workplace. With studies indicating that being close to animals can have all manner of mental, emotional and physical health benefits, such as reducing blood pressure, promoting calmness and increasing team spirit, bringing your dog to work could make you happier and healthier.

Advocates of the scheme report that the office atmosphere is much more fun and relaxed when dogs are around, with staff saying that being able to bring their dog to work makes their lives easier. Could it be a case of happy staff equating to an increase in productivity?

Those with reservations about the behaviour or cleanliness of their canine colleagues need not worry, as only vaccinated, chipped and well-trained dogs are permitted to set foot – or paw – in the office. Rigorous training and observation both inside and outside the building take place before dogs are given the go-ahead to ensure that they are safe, happy and comfortable in this environment and around strangers. Once they have been approved, the dogs are given a special device to wear that allows them to pass freely through doors in a designated doggy area on the ground floor.

The notion of bringing dogs to work is not a new one and many smaller companies have been allowing this for some time; however, Nestle is the first major global company to introduce it.

Will it take off? Who knows, but with the clear benefits behind the initiative and Nestle already planning to roll out the scheme in other Swiss offices and abroad, it might not be too long before you start working alongside your furry friend.

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