Puppies! At work? Wishful thinking or the future of office life

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It’s no secret Luna Hill is the office favourite at Queensland fashion label Mayde Australia. An extremely hard worker, she turns up to the office every day, and never fails greet guests with her happy disposition.

But Luna’s not like any employee, the two-year-old Border Collie belongs to founders Silvia and Matt Hill, and has come to work with them in their shared office space every day since she was eight weeks old.

Silvia and Luna Hill at their shared office workplace in Currumbin on the Gold Coast.

Silvia and Luna Hill at their shared office workplace in Currumbin on the Gold Coast.Credit:Paul Harris

“Luna’s our unofficial receptionist, who meets and greets people as they arrive,” says Silvia. “She’s essentially grown up around the office and warehouse environment.”

“It’s been a real boost to morale and she lifts everyone’s spirits,” she says, adding that other companies who work out of the same warehouse enjoy Luna’s company.

Australia has one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world – which only spiked during last year’s lockdowns – but almost 80 per cent of the country’s employers are not pet friendly, or do not allow pets in the office at all due to fears of disruption, noise and mess.

According to a recent Mars Petcare report of more than 1000 respondents, over half of Australia’s pet owners would be open to taking a new job if their prospective employer supported pets in the workplace, jumping to more than 70 per cent with Gen Z respondents.

It’s not surprising. The wellbeing benefits of pet ownership are well known. Not only are they good for our cardiovascular health, they are also shown to reduce rates of loneliness, depression and even boost productivity.

So, how does that translate in the office? And just how realistic is transitioning to a “pet friendly” space?

“It seems more complicated than it is,” says veterinarian Dr Chris Brown, adding “better mental health and work-life balance should be the focus rather than ‘overcoming relatively simple logistics’.”