May 21, 2024

Do you bring your dog to the office? What does this mean for the working environment, colleagues and potential applicants, and how can employers benefit from it? An example from the Cosmos publisher in Stuttgart.

Cairo goes to the office every day. As soon as the workday begins, the black dachshund mix is ​​nestled in a cozy spot under the desk of Jasmine Barre, who works in the games editorial department at Kosmos Verlag in Stuttgart. Masu. “He’s the most popular colleague here now,” she says with a laugh.

Cairo has been accompanying his owner on work for four years. “Otherwise, I wouldn’t have gotten a dog,” says the young woman. According to a company spokesperson, 10 “Cosmos dogs” are currently brought into the workplace on a regular basis. “For us, this is a natural part of the company culture.” Our four-legged friends are not only part of the gaming editorial team, but also in accounting and advice editing.

According to Markus Bayer, president of the Federal Government Canine Association, dogs are well adapted to working life. The corona pandemic has changed many people’s perceptions. Many people realized for the first time just how difficult they were before they started working from home. Working from home suddenly made it possible for me to have a full-time job caring for dogs. Many people have probably spent a lot of time with their dogs, and some may have only had them during the coronavirus period. “There is a growing demand for people to bring their dogs to the office,” Beyer says.

Now, the company receives many inquiries from companies who want to learn more about office dogs, and they even hold seminars there. It’s not just companies that want to meet with employees more often in the office rather than working from home that need to come up with something. Talking about office dogs can also help with recruitment and employee retention, he says.

“We are now being asked more frequently during job interviews whether we can bring our dogs into the office,” admits a Cosmos spokesperson. “Of course we earn points for being a particularly dog-friendly company.”

“Four-legged elasticity”

A spokesperson for the German Animal Welfare Association said: “Studies have shown that dogs in the workplace promote employee satisfaction, motivation and the atmosphere at work.” Each year, the association promotes the coexistence of humans and their four-legged friends in the workplace with their “coworker dogs.” This year’s action day is June 6th. Beyer goes further and talks about “resiliency on four legs,” as simply petting a dog can reduce psychological and work-related stress.

“Sometimes colleagues come to Cairo to ask about something,” says Cosmos employee Bale. Even people like Arnd Fischer had nothing to do with dogs before and approached them cautiously. “There are many good things about Cairo that make it easy for people to like it,” says a Cosmos employee. Just seeing the expressions on our four-legged friends brings smiles to the faces of our visitors.

A Cosmos spokesperson said an open, creative environment and a positive working environment are important to the company. “Dogs definitely make a positive contribution. However, it is important that they are well behaved and have clear rules.”

In the dog department, where Cosmos dog guides take care of the dogs, on this day the majority are four-legged friends. The two golden retrievers, Melte and Amber, are curious but do not greet visitors at the office. One word from owner Hilke Heinemann is enough. “Dogs know exactly that quiet is the order of the day in the office and that they should sleep without attacking visitors,” says Heineman. Her colleague Alice Rieger’s two beagles are also resisting.

Not all dogs are suitable for the office

One-year-old Matze wags his tail wildly, but stays where he sleeps, as does Nelson, 13, who prefers to snooze anyway. Her owner, Alice Rieger, said she had already practiced how Matze should behave in her office at her home since he was a puppy. This works because “dogs have internal body clocks.” To maintain a balance of peace and quiet in the office, our four-legged friends are often allowed to run around before and after work, and are encouraged to take walks during their lunch breaks. “Sometimes colleagues who don’t own dogs join dog walking groups,” says Rieger.

Not all dogs are suitable for the office. “We slowly got the dogs used to each other, and he only took them to work for an hour at a time,” Heineman says. It goes without saying that for her, there is a limit to how dog-friendly she is at work. Dog-free areas are also important, as some people are afraid of dogs or have allergic reactions to them. The dogs were able to sense exactly what mood was prevailing, were sensitive, and had a calming effect. “I miss my dog,” Rieger said.

You have no right to bring your dog to work. At Cosmos, we have a long tradition of four-legged colleagues. “Dogs have been an integral part of everyday publishing life since the mid-1990s,” said a Cosmos spokesperson. But it’s not just publishers, advertising agencies, startups and law firms that welcome dogs into the workplace, as the Federal Society’s Office Dog Map shows. In Bayer’s experience, large companies also provide information to themselves to make themselves more attractive as employers.

Axel Springer has about 240 dogs.

office dog
Axel Springer Media Group employs around 70 office dogs every day. According to Kerstin Drobniewski, the Berlin and Hamburg locations have around 240 of her four-legged colleagues in total, which she estimates is more than any other company in Germany.

dog officer
In addition to his work as an office worker, Kerstin Drobniewski is also the chief dog officer, or the company’s canine representative. She has been caring for office dogs for 12 years, and dog owners must submit an application to her, which requires, among other things, vaccination certificates, liability insurance, and team consent. She also does temperament testing with her furry friends.

Office dogs have benefits for teams, communication and mood, Drobniewski says. Many employees may stay for extended periods of time with their dog. However, your boss and team need to agree first. If they agree, there should be an internal agreement setting out the rights and obligations of everyone involved, recommends Markus Bayer of the Federal Office Dog Association.

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