Molly the staffy goes to work every day at marketing and PR agency Volpa. Her human, Tricia Fox, explains the benefits of having a furry friend in the office.
What does your company do?
Volpa is a full service marketing and PR agency boasting dedicated publicity, creative and digital departments. Founded by entrepreneur Tricia Fox in 2002, it specialises in the tourism, hospitality and food and drink sectors.
And introduce us to your workplace pet… What’s their name, and what kind of pet are they?
Molly is a 12 year old Staffordshire bull terrier and a rescue dog.
How did they become your workplace pet?
Molly belongs to Tricia Fox, CEO and founder of Volpa. As a small business owner Tricia regularly works long hours away from home, so the ability to bring Molly along to the office keeps everyone happy, especially Molly. We would consider ourselves a dog friendly office!
What’s it like having an animal around the place?
It’s not just CEO Tricia’s dog who we have at the office, any member of the team is welcome to bring their dog to work every day. Having pets in the office can help to lift moods, improve happiness and reduce stress, particularly for those colleagues who love having their pooches around.
What made you decide to bring pets into your workplace?
It’s a decision that makes perfect sense for a rapidly growing business, especially for Volpa’s 14 strong team of dog-lovers, who appreciated the option to share the work space with their four legged friends.
Does it have an effect on stress, and on how the whole team works together?
We agree with research that has shown that bringing pet dogs to work can improve wellbeing, productivity and make the job more satisfying for other employees. All the benefits of owning a dog at home translate to the office with employees being able to work with a companion by their side all day.
We’ve found that dogs are a natural conversation starter in the office and can improve collaboration in the workplace. Our employees are more likely to approach each other when there is a dog nearby to break the ice.
Any unexpected benefits? Or, indeed, pitfalls?
Volpa’s dog friendly credentials proved a big attraction for one recent client, Dog Friendly Perthshire. Partnering with founder Katie McCandless Thomas and her ‘ambassadog’ Baxter, we created a comprehensive listings website of dog friendly venues in Perthshire and supported the launch of their tourism campaign to promote Perth as the dog friendly capital of Scotland.
As well as being a way to attract new clients, being a dog friendly business can also help recruit and retain top talent. The trend of career focussed individuals to marry later and delay having children has resulted in a rise of ownership of precious pooches. We’ve found that being dog friendly is a desirable perk that could also prove the deciding factor for recruiting and retaining productive and engaged employees.
Who’s responsible for walking, feeding, cleaning… any of the ‘less popular’ jobs?
We’re all responsible for our own dogs. Having their dog at work does encourage employees to keep active and take regular breaks. It can be so easy to get sucked into work first thing in the morning and barely move from the desk all day. A quick ten minute ‘pee’ break can help clear the head and maintain focus.
Ever find it a distraction?
Molly can regularly be found snoozing beside the desk of owner, Tricia, which can sometimes be distracting when trying to focus!
What would you tell other people who were reluctant to take in an office pet?
It can increase an employee’s ability to be flexible, by not having to rush off home at the end of the day to let the dog out. It also has a great cost saving benefit – dog walking or doggy day care can cost an average of £100 for the working week. It can make a big difference to the work/life balance to employees. In our office with those who choose to have their dogs at work, they can extend their hours until their work is done, rather than restrict their time.
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