Life on Mars a sweet place for canine companions

May 18, 2017

Life on Mars a sweet place for canine companions

Lewis the office dog and Adrienne Holder in the Mars Penrose office. Photo: Supplied

Every dog definitely has its day, at least as far as one confectionery and pet food company goes.

Mars NZ Ltd, famous for Snickers bars and M&Ms, promotes a ‘passion for pets’ programme which encourages staff to bring their dogs to their Penrose office.

Corporate affairs manager Victoria Hamilton said allowing pets in the workplace provided multiple benefits for the 150 employees.

“They offer a sense of comfort, relieve stress, improve work-life balance and increase productivity and morale.” Allowing pets to spend more time with their owners increased happiness in the office, explained Ms Hamilton.

Gretchen Evans, people and organisation director, said she believed dogs in the workplace to be a point of difference in attracting people to work at Mars. “If potential employees love animals and like having them in the work environment it seems to help them feel more at home here.”

The sentiment goes right to the top: general manager Gerry Lynch said he loved having his dogs Paddy and Murphy at work. “Knowing they really enjoy being there and that they won’t be bored at home makes me feel really good.”

Mr Lynch said the Penrose office had an outdoor area for dogs to ensure they have somewhere to do their business. “We also do walking meetings where dogs come too.”

Dogs are allowed in the office every day. The number can vary, with up to 10 in the office on the busiest days.

The concept of a pet-friendly office is outlined to all potential employees, said Ms Evans. “A policy around dogs in the office is extremely important. The dogs must be healthy, well behaved and trained, non-aggressive and controllable even if confronted with unexpected events.

“The ‘regulars’ really enjoy seeing each other every day and whenever there is a new arrival there is lots of excitement and sniffing,” she added.

It’s not just the owners who benefit from the four-legged presence, said Mr Lynch. “I know other employees without dogs also love the interaction with them, as they may not be able to have one of their own.”

Certain responsibilities – including vaccinations and regular treatments as well as considering leaving their dog at home if they had a particularly busy work day planned – are expected of owners, said Ms Evans.

A ‘pets at work’ survey of 1006 employees and 200 human resource decision makers in the United States in 2016 revealed that pet friendly workplaces are very positive, have high employee morale, retain the best and most talented employees and provide companies with a competitive advantage when recruiting new employees.

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