Pets are amazing. If you’re lucky enough to have one of the 8.5 million dogs or 7.4 million cats in the UK, you’ll know how good it feels to see them when you walk through the door after a long day’s work (really, how do dogs know what time you’re getting home?). For pet lovers, it’s the best way to end a day, but why should the day only be ‘ended’ with your furry companion? Pet friendly workplaces are in fashion, and for good reason too. But there’s a new solution out there for employees unable to bring their four-legged friend to work.
A company called Petschatz has released what we can only describe as “FaceTime for pets”. It’s a device you fit in your home that’ll allow you to video chat with your pet. It looks like they can even call you! Have those fancy pet-friendly offices been made redundant? This video should explain all.
OK. It’s fairly unlikely that a member of your team will be video chatting with their pet at work anytime soon, but it does raise some interesting possibilities. Management knowledge of the mood-boosting powers pets have on people, combined with new tech, is bringing them closer and closer to the workplace. With Petschatz, workers can now get around those ‘no dogs allowed’ signs.
Petschatz is a good middle ground for employers wanting to allow staff to benefit from the virtual presence of their pets, without taking on the risks they can pose in the workplace (allergies, trips, excessive noise etc.).
What it also does though, is introduce yet another distraction to what, if we’re honest, is already a pretty big list. Apparently 68% of employees tend to stray in the web browsers on company time, and 17% admitted taking their phones to the loo to chat to friends on social media. If you could video chat your pet at work, play games and send them treats via the system would you ever turn it off?! Phones are already buzzing with messages, notifications, Pokémon… and now the dog going to be ringing you non-stop for treats.
All workplaces are different and your culture will affect how you approach this. For those that do want to tackle those digital distractions, a watertight phone and IT policy will protect you. Also simply letting your staff know what you expect from them regarding their electronic devices at work can help.
When it comes to pets though, we recommend a balanced approach. Some regard their pets as members of the family, hence our previous call for employers to think about ‘Peternity Leave’ provision. Most employers will say: “work is work, get a dog walker”. But remember that there are some benefits to pet time. Who knows, your pawductivity may go through the roof!