Standing on all fours, wagging her tail as visitors arrive, Daisy oversees the well-being of the Tungsten Collaborative team. The dog, like many other pets, has the right to come to the office with his owner, who worked from home during the pandemic.
The 12-year-old blond Labrador sniffs the workspace looking for something to eat or play with. Beside her, Delilah, a basset hound with long hanging ears, approaches her, looking like she too wants some attention.
At this Canadian design firm, which has a dozen employees in Ottawa, other dogs roam, such as Eevee the English Greyhound and Hudson, a German Shepherd puppy, who barks to get noticed.
Daisy is an “integral part” of the business. On the company’s website, she poses as a team member and she is also entitled to a short bio.
“Many of Dave’s greatest innovations (McMullin, vice president of design, ed) emerged during the long walks alongside Daisy,” writes the company, adding that the dog has “nine years of experience to support the best designers.
Return of the activity
“We encourage people who have pets to bring them” to the office, Tungsten Collaborative President Bill Dicke told AFP. “You develop this relationship with your pet at home and suddenly go back to work, and he has to be caged for the day or wandering around the house alone,” complains the 47-year-old handler, who hears this “not fair. “For 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 water the dogs throughout the day. The latter sometimes sleep at the foot of chairs, chew toys or run to a bouncing ball in the hallway.
The inclusion of Tungsten Collaborative on the Humane Society’s list of dog-friendly activities led to relaunching commercial activity and increasing the productivity of its staffassures Bill Dicke.
According to a recent Leger survey conducted for PetSafe, one in two Canadians (51%) support the idea of taking their dog to the office.
This proposal is particularly popular with younger people: 18% of employees between 18 and 24 say they would change companies if their employer refused them this option.
Faced with the roughly 200,000 Canadians who adopted a cat or dog during the pandemic, bosses demanding their employees return in person may be forced to consider relaxing.
For some employees like Johan Van Hulle, 29, the new rule was “a key factor in (his) decision” to take a job at Tungsten last year.
“Allowing dogs is a good indicator” of a company’s culture, Eevee owner, who was looking for a “not too corporate” environment, told AFP.
Also in Ottawa, this time as part of the Chandos Bird joint venture, the designers of a nuclear research laboratory are visibly thrilled by the presence of Samson, a 10-year-old blond Yorkshire terrier.
His teacher, Trevor Watt, didn’t want to leave him alone in his new home as he returned to the office in January. Bringing him inside was supposed to be a temporary solution. He has not only adapted to office life, but has also won over his teacher’s colleagues, who now share walks with Samson. “He loves coming to work,” says Trevor Watt, who appreciates “not having to worry about him.”
His boss, Byron Williams, believes it petting a dog is a great way to “unwind after a great meeting”.
But having man’s best friend at work can pose some challenges, for example for employees who are allergic to animals or those who fear them. Samson remains on a leash when Trevor Watt’s colleague, terrified of dogs, is around. Some employees of other companies, interviewed by AFP, could also complain of carpet stains, improvised barking and hair, found everywhere.