Meet Bibi, the five-year-old cavapoo who keeps her mHabitat family calm and relaxed, unless she's interrupting their meetings to demand playtime.
What does your company do?
mHabitat supports people-centred digital innovation in health and social care. We have a social purpose — to develop digital technologies for good that address real-world problems.
And introduce us to your workplace pet… What’s their name, and what kind of pet are they?
Bibi is a five-year old CavaPoo.
How did they become your workplace pet?
Bibi became part of her owner Victoria’s family as mHabitat was being set up; from working at the kitchen table right through to various office moves as our team has grown. We always make sure any offices we move to are dog-friendly.
What’s it like having an animal around the place?
Bibi brings a calm and cuddly vibe to the workplace. She can be a good distraction when one of us needs a break. She can also be a bit demanding when she decides it’s playtime and we are in the middle of a team meeting! She loves meeting new people and always likes to sit next to a new person visiting the office for the first time.
What made you decide to bring pets into your workplace?
Bibi has been a Pets as Therapy (PAT) dog for two years. Victoria takes her hospital visiting once a month, so it seems to make sense to also bring her to work. That way, she can be a helping therapeutic hand to everyone she meets.
Does it have an effect on stress, and on how the whole team works together?
There is evidence that pets in the workplace can help to reduce stress. She likes to sit on people’s laps and is very affectionate, so she’s a nice addition to the team. We’re looking forward to welcoming participants for Propel@YH, a digital health accelerator programme, to our workspace shortly and we’re certain she’ll waste no time in making them feel right at home.
Any unexpected benefits? Or, indeed, pitfalls?
She has definitely become the most popular member of the team and people seem to like visiting her rather than us! The pitfalls are the demands to play with toys that tend to erupt just as we are embarking on a serious meeting.
Who’s responsible for walking, feeding, cleaning… any of the ‘less popular’ jobs?
That falls to her owner, Dr Victoria Betton.
Do you ever find it a distraction?
It helps team members to feel calm, so we’d say that she’s a lovely and very welcome distraction!
What would you tell other people who were reluctant to take in an office pet?
We’d say that an office pet brings a relaxed and friendly atmosphere to the office, and it’s definitely something that has brought us a lot of joy!
You can follow Bibi the PAT dog on Instagram @bibithepatdog.
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