Many are familiar with the moments when pets adorably interrupt online video conferencing, making everyone on the call laugh. Companies in Hangzhou are embracing this trend of pet stress relief by encouraging employees to bring their pets to the workplace, with the goal to reduce stress levels and foster a positive work environment.
A three-year-old Jack Russell Terrier named “Happy” is the office pet at the China-Mexico Centre in Hangzhou. The centre is now a driver of innovation and entrepreneurship in the tech industry across China and Mexico. Working in such an environment entails new opportunities and challenges with a fast-paced schedule. Happy is everyone’s furry little friend who comforts everyone when things get stressful.
Happy is also a regular attendee of many long-distance meetings that the centre hosts. It engages with the meeting by nodding and sitting still for an incredibly long time. When people get to work in the morning, Happy is always there to greet everyone. It has made a huge difference in employee’s well-being and lifted the atmosphere considerably.
“I experience less stress when Happy is around,” said Zhuo'er, an employee at the centre. Zhuo is a liaison with clients overseas so she needs to stay up late for meetings. Sometimes the stress related to the work hours can be overwhelming. “Petting Happy reassures me that everything shall be okay. I feel calm when it is around in the office.” said Zhuo.
The founder of the China-Mexico Centre Zhangfeng is a big advocate for pets in the workplace. Zhang used to work in Silicon Vally and noticed that it is nothing unusual to take dogs to the office. “Happy used to be a stray dog when we adopted it and provided it with proper vaccination and a place to live in, explained Zhang. “It is now an important member of the company, and we all appreciate the joyfulness he brings,” said Zhang.
Management at an IT company in Hangzhou thinks pets in the workplace are not just a trend but actually boost team morale and productivity. Employees take care of the office cat together and the company will cover the costs for food, hygiene and healthcare. “When there is an unsolvable problem, it’s always good to take a step back and play with the cat,” said Mr. Cheng, the manager at the IT company.
More employers in Hangzhou are open to the idea of pet stress relief in the office. A finance company in Hangzhou encourages their employees to create a shared space for pets where individuals can make connections and play team-building activities. While it is more acceptable to have pets in the workplace, it is necessary to respect everyone’s boundaries and needs before inviting furry friends to the office.