What is the next new thing in office design?
Whatever market sector you're in, you're probably asked fairly frequently what you think will be the next innovation in your line of work.
Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp - what's next?
Desktop, laptop, tablet - what's next?
Open plan, treadmill office desk, ergonomic office chair - what's next?
Well, if you believe what you read, the new must-have accessory at the smarter office is - or rather are - pet dogs.
Perhaps this isn't really surprising. There has been a shift in office design towards creating a more homely working environment; an acknowledgement that the better the workspace the better the employee. And what better way to ensure that your office feels as comfortable as your home than by bringing along your pooch?
The craft beer company BrewDog recently introduced Puppy Parental Leave, or "pawternity leave". Once the leave period has finished, staff are then welcome to bring their pets to work. Mars Petcare was one of the first companies to offer pawternity leave and BitSol Solutions, a tech company based in Manchester, offers its employees a full week of paid leave if they get a new pet.
Of course Google is part of this trend, with their code of conduct stating that “affection for our canine friends is an integral facet of our corporate culture”, and at Amazon, around 2,000 employees have registered their pets at its headquarters in Seattle so they can take them to work.
These are, at present, the exceptions to the rule. It is estimated that only 8% of UK and US employers allow dogs at work. Making it the norm for dogs in offices will entail company rules and guidelines such as dogs being vaccinated, designated exercise areas and general good behaviour. It does also throw up the issue of allergies and where this stands amongst the rest of the workforce.
Overall however, with stats found in a 2016 survey by Banfield pet hospital finding that 82% of employees feel a greater sense of loyalty to pet-friendly companies, 88% thinking that pets at work improve morale and 86% saying that they reduce stress, bringing Fido into work could well be the next new thing.