Who let the dogs in? Norfolk employers on the benefits of canine colleagues
- Credit: Curveball Media
It used to be a once-a-year-day, or a special treat for weekend workers.
But office pets are becoming an increasingly paw-pular part of the workforce, with many businesses looking to formalise the invite to their employees' four-legged-friends.
And not only is having a pet-friendly office improving the mood and wellbeing of staff, it's also giving companies a recruitment advantage when sourcing the brightest sparks on the market.
Pippa Redmond and husband Mark own Norwich Print Solutions, and three-year-old St Bernard Bear is a daily visitor.
'I can't think of any disadvantages,' Mrs Redmond said. 'When we got a dog we knew we'd want to bring him to the office, and his nature is just so docile and gentle he was perfect.
'When he was younger it was a bit more difficult because you have to take puppies out more, and if we have anyone who isn't a dog fan there's a crate we can put him in. But 99% of people absolutely love him, he makes us laugh so much.'
'It makes an office feel more homely,' said Olly Lawer, who co-owns Curveball Animation and Films, and has brought his rescued Labrador Rolo to work in Norwich for the past two years.
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'The only disadvantage I can think of is when he gets overexcited and barks - but you'd get that with people laughing or having a loud conversation. It's just about having that awareness and respect for your colleagues,' he said.
He added: 'If the dog is trained it's a welcome distraction. It's nice to come out of a really intense piece of work and have a cuddle or a play, or a walk, before getting back to it.'
This week, publisher Archant welcomed a cockapoo named Alfie to the Eastern Daily Press newsroom, to the delight of reporters.
The experts agree, with employee engagement consultant Cassandra Andrews, saying: 'From my research millennials especially will prioritise bringing dogs to work over other perks like a gym membership.
'Smart businesses will start seeing this as an advantage - both to attract the talent they want, and to boost their employees.'
Not only does it work from an employer point of view, but it keeps customers coming back.
'Half the time people remember the dog's names before they remember the staff's,' said Denise Russell who co-owns Broadland Flooring in Salhouse.
Golden doodles (golden retriever and miniature poodle mix) Ellie, Mabel and Millie are canine colleagues who see the office as a second home, having a fenced area to play and sleep.
Mrs Russell added: 'Having the dogs in the office is a big part of our working day – they're happy, most visitors are happy to see them and we're happy they're not home alone.'