Report by ITV Meridian's Abigail Bracken.
A Brighton tech company has found that letting her employees bring their dogs into work with them has reduced stress and increased team morale.
A lover of dogs, Cloud9 Insight CEO Carlene Jackson realised that inviting dogs into the office during the 2022 heat waves seemed to boost team morale as well as reducing stress levels.
"A lot of our employees wanted to come to the office because we have pretty good air con. But it occurred to me that WFH employees' pets might be struggling in the heatwave, too.
"I took the lead, so to speak, and brought my dogs into the office. I have two fluffy Samoyeds and I encouraged employees to bring their dogs in as well.
"Stroking a dog is known to reduce stress and increase wellbeing, releasing vital mood-boosting hormones like serotonin and oxytocin into the bloodstream.
"And I think that's why, in our case, we've found a dog-friendly office is a stress-free office.
"I wanted to share this experience to help anyone who runs an office which is affected by stress this Stress Awareness Week. I do feel that dogs can play a big part in combating the work-related stress that most of us feel from time to time."
The Cloud9 office and its staff are welcome to bring their dogs to work, with there already being office Labradors and Jack Russells, as well as Carlene's two fluffy Samoyeds, Shaska and Bear, all of whom have found a welcome home within the team.
Another favourite is Dolly the poodle, whose owner Sam, generously shares Dolly with the rest of the office.
"Bringing Dolly to work keeps me calm, as I always have a familiar face that I can rely on to pick me up. I love seeing her make new friends in the office, too." said Sam.
But the dog-sharing didn't stop there. The Cloud9 office is in a building with a number of healthcare providers, including breast cancer clinics.
The fury-friends have helped boost team morale.
When Carlene realised what a great impact the dogs were having on the team's mood, she decided to extend this initiative even further.
"I decided to offer the office dogs to some of the patients in the clinics below us, as a way of spreading the positivity throughout the entire building.
"I know that my dogs have an amazing impact on my mood, and I felt that patients who are in clinics for treatment might also benefit from seeing a friendly fluffy face."
Dolly and friends have all been offered to the patients there, as a way of keeping them positive at a time when they need some emotional support.
Since introducing the initiative, Carlene has witnessed real improvements in employee morale, stress levels and productivity.
"I feel that having dogs in the office gives our employees a positive boost when they need it.
"We all know our productivity levels fluctuate throughout the day, so having five minutes with a fluffy companion can help break up our workday and give us time to let our creative thinking flow."
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