Who’s the boss (in the office?)

Anyone who watched the BBC programmes “Babies in the Office” will no doubt have smiled – and squirmed – as much as I did! The documentary looked at whether taking your baby or young child with you to work could possibly add to the office experience – or whether it would simply be too stressful for all concerned.

Although there were some mixed results (and some mixed responses!) from those at the company that took part in the trial, overall the experience proved positive, with staff bonding and interaction particularly affected. Those cute babies acted as a colourful and cohesive influence in an otherwise potentially ‘grey’ working environment.

Of course, it got me thinking about dogs in the workplace. I have to admit that I was really surprised to find out that according to a survey from the American Pet Products Manufacturers Association, 17 percent of U.S. employers currently allow animals in the workplace.

As I write, we have four office dogs (and two giant cats!) in residence – three of the dogs are mine and one – Bella, the lovely Westie, belongs to my wonderful PA Janice. Right now, all are snoozing quietly under our desks. (The dogs, not Janice!) However, I would be telling porkie pies if I said that every minute was just as serene. The combination of two terrier-crosses and one whole terrier does mean that they like to announce the arrival of the postman in the mornings, and any delivery man who steps onto the driveway. While this might be only natural – and sometimes useful – it can be a little embarrassing if we are on the phone to a client asking how to resolve their dog’s barking problems!

Having been allowed to bring dogs to work with me for most of my previous career – for example, at PAT-Dogs, and Dogs Today magazine, I can’t imagine ever working without a dog lying across my foot or right behind my swivel chair. After all, who would tell me when it’s time to stop and head off to the woods? Not many other ‘bosses’ do that!

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