Hal­lie pets helps in the of­fice

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - NEWS - Maryanne Taouk

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

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