Designer director Miki, and showroom pooch Gina
Doggy in the window, Gina, helps to create a connection with customers at Juliettes Interiors and keeps children entertained whilst their parents shop.
What does your company do?
We’re a high-end interior design and Italian designer furniture retailer.
And introduce us to your workplace pet… What’s their name, and what kind of pet are they?
Gina is our much-loved cockapoo and is 10 months old now. Gina is a term of affection in Italian meaning someone who is gorgeous but doesn’t know it. She was named by our design director, Micaela (Miki) Rossi, an Italian herself who speaks English, Italian and French – and is now also fluent in dog. Gina has her own passport and has already ventured across the Channel to France.
How did they become your workplace pet?
She was a reward to Miki for achieving her targets – much more enticing than just the usual monetary incentive. Although she is a company dog, she belongs to Miki but everyone else also helps take care of her during the day.
What’s it like having an animal around the place?
It’s fun and really calming. Children love her, which makes our job easier. She helps screaming children to become calm and lovely, so are in no rush to leave, giving their parents more quality time to browse and talk to us.
Most adult customers love Gina too. She sits quietly with us during consultations and is always a topic of conversation, creating a nice, natural connection with our customers.
What made you decide to bring pets into your workplace?
Our showroom is on the Kings Road, Chelsea, in the heart of the design district. We loved the idea of having a doggy in the window. It makes people look – and smile. Miki has always wanted a dog but hated the idea of leaving a puppy at home alone. This was the perfect solution.
Does it have an effect on stress, and on how the whole team works together?
It certainly does. If you’re having a stressful day, just a few minutes spent stroking Gina or playing with her calms you down and cheers you up. When someone has lost concentration, they take Gina for a walk and come back refreshed and re-focused. We all love stroking her (except for Karen who thinks she doesn’t like dogs but we’re working on that).
Any unexpected benefits? Or, indeed, pitfalls?
We’ve been surprised at just how Gina brings the team together. Puppy training was a bit tough as she peed on some very expensive furniture, chewed the phone and router cables and turned the bins over on more than one occasion. Six months on and she’s settled in nicely. We couldn’t wish for a more friendly or gentle office pet.
Who’s responsible for walking, feeding, cleaning… any of the ‘less popular’ jobs?
All the staff are. Anyone who has a few minutes spare, or needs a break themselves, will take her for a walk. Luckily, there isn’t much in the way of cleaning up any more.
Do you ever find it a distraction?
She is a welcome distraction to give us all a little break during the day. She actually seems to increase everyone’s productivity.
What would you tell other people who were reluctant to take in an office pet?
Go for it! Obviously, the pet will need to acclimatise so you’ll need to be patient for a while, but a pet brings everyone together. No matter how different their jobs or other interests, a pet provides common ground and it makes the workplace more like being at home whilst working. A nice sunny day and everyone wants to take Gina out for a walk, and that makes them happier and more focused when they come back.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Gina has had such a positive effect on morale. What started out as a staff incentive has reaped rewards that we couldn’t possibly have imagined. She is one of the team. She’s even about to have her own page on our blog.
Does your office regularly house a four-legged team member? Perhaps you work from home, and have a furry - or scaly - friend who you class as a colleague, even though they don't play fair when it comes to making tea and coffee? We want to get to know your office pets and understand why they're an important part of your business.
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