The sound of a dog barking has been enough to ease tensions in the high pressured environment of the office.
At the Purina Petcare office in Sydney, employees who bring their pets to work say the animals help lower stress levels and any tension.
The Nestle building which houses the Purina office has also set aside time on Wednesdays and Fridays to help workers relax and balance their workloads.
Lal Meyer, the country business manager of Purina Petcare Australia said bringing pets to work is part of the company DNA.
“There are many researched health benefits to owning a pet. We know that pets help reduce stress by helping reduce blood pressure. They help people relax and boost immunity as kids grow up,” he said.
Purina cites research from Virginia Commonwealth University published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management in 2012 which found employees felt less stressed throughout the day when a dog accompanied them to work.
Robyn Watts and the office cat Monty who comes into the office every day. Photo: Edwina Pickles
Pets in the workplace have also encouraged employees to interact with one other.
The Purina office is part of a larger complex owned by Nestle which holds special days for pets at work.
Mr Meyer said he has seen workers relax as soon as a pet approaches them in the office.
Meaghan Paterson with Scrappy, a bitzer. Photo: Edwina Pickles
“We’ve been in meetings with other divisions where conversations can become heated. As soon as a dog or cat walks in, they create a whole different atmosphere. It actually changes some conversations.”
The office cat Monty, a ball of white fluff, “rules the office” and commands the respect of all the dogs.
Nestle has also created “wellness Wednesdays” at its head office in Rhodes.
The wellness program focuses on the physical, mental and financial wellbeing of staff.
“We’ve got a range of programs people can dip in and out of, such as deep relaxation and meditation,” the spokeswoman said.
“We’ve also got some educational sessions for a financial health check or to discuss superannuation.
“These programs are an opportunity for employees to test the waters or simply join in those wellness areas that interest them.”
One employee said she takes part in deep relaxation on Wednesdays.
“Even when the day is incredibly busy I always make this a priority. I get to unwind and completely tune out for 40 minutes to recharge the batteries,” she said.
“Those 40-minute sessions not only make me feel rejuvenated back at my desk but the benefits well and truly spill over when I get home.
“Sometimes you hear the odd person snoring at some of the sessions, I love that … it means they are completely relaxed.”
A spokeswoman for Nestle said it had surveyed employees who have raised concerns about not having enough time to focus on priorities.
In response, the company has also introduced a meeting-free period from 9am until 1pm every Friday.
“It’s blocked out in everyone’s calendars,” the spokeswoman said.
“We found that this interruption-free time gives people back some breathing space to focus on tasks that need extra attention, or simply just have head space to plan or think ahead. How they use the time is up to them.”
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