Hallie pets helps in the office
HALLIE is the ideal employee. She’s quiet, energetic and knows how to greet people. Her job is to lick visitors and sit by Jessica Ben-Ari’s desk as she answers emails and phone calls as online fashion retailer The Iconic’s PR manager.
“I know she loves coming to work,” Ben-Ari says.
“I’ll say to her, ‘ready to go to the office?’ and she leaps out of bed and heads for the door.”
Hallie is a nine-year-old Shih tzu. She’s among the 400 people and 10 dogs that work across the retailer’s Sydney office in the CBD and processing centre at Wetherill Park.
The benefits of having a pet at work became apparent to Ben-Ari when she joined the company two years ago and wanted a quick way to break the ice.
“She (Hallie) made it so much easier to meet people across departments and served as an automatic talking point to help me get to know my new colleagues,” Ben-Ari says.
“It’s still so special to me to spend the work day with her.”
The company has a canine “pawlicy” for dogs, or any other pets in the office, to follow. “Dogs aren’t allowed in the kitchen, they have to be kept on leashes in shared spaces and in the lifts and the lobby: we’ve never had an issue though,” Ben-Ari says.
Research studies have found having a dog at work can help workers deal with day-to-day pressures.
“We spend a lot of time at work, so we want it to be a fun and welcoming place. We’ve found having pets here makes an enormous difference,” Jessica says.
What works for Ben-Ari and Hallie might not work for every office, with tenants encouraged to check their building’s animal policies before opening the door to any four-legged employees.
“We recently moved to a new office in the CBD and it was a bit challenging to find a corporate office space that welcomed dogs,” Ben-Ari said. “We decided early on in the search that we’d be persistent — our CEO wouldn’t sign a lease until we found an office space that would allow our dogs to move with us.”
Jessica BenAri takes her dog Hallie to work everyday. Picture: John Appleyard