From office dog to feel-good-manager
Dogs At Work: Rudi's year as an office dog at SYSKRON
At the SYSKRON office in Maximilianstraße, Rudi, our feel-good manager, is mainly responsible for looking after the well-being of his colleagues. How he does this and how he ended up doing this job is explained here by his owner, Jonas, in an interview following the successful completion of Rudi’s trial period in the company.
Dreamteam: Jonas and Rudi.
First of all, why did you decide to get a dog? And why do you take him to work with you?
I made a point of getting a dog that doesn’t just spend its time at home. Rudi is my constant companion and I aim to have him accompany me everywhere, regardless of what I am doing and where I go – if it is allowed and at all possible. For me, bringing him to work must be part and parcel of this. Obviously under the condition that he doesn’t bother anyone and prevent anyone from doing their work.
Generally speaking, has anything changed for you since Rudi accompanies you to work?
In work, situations arise now and again in which you are happy or annoyed. Rudi brings you down to earth somewhat. And, thanks to him, I always have the chance to go outside and into the fresh air. I am also much more relaxed since I have Rudi with me: When I can put my hand down under the table and stroke his head briefly, it relaxes me – much more than a stress ball or similar object could ever do.
Did Rudi also accompany you to your previous job?
Yes. I asked my previous employer if he would have a problem with me bringing a dog to work even before I owned a dog. He did not see any reason why not and only had to clarify the issue with the building’s rental office. Rudi was eight weeks old when he moved in with me. When he was nine weeks, I took him straight into the office. So he is not familiar with any other life than a life in the office. When I changed jobs, my new employer, SYSKRON, kind of made it clear to me: If I don’t take Rudi with me to work, then I needn’t bother turning up. I am very happy with how everything has turned out. If I had to leave him at home, I would seriously think about changing over to a job where Rudi wouldn’t be an obstacle. But luckily I have the opportunity to take Rudi with me here at SYSKRON.
So was the fact that you were able to take Rudi to work an additional incentive why you decided to work for SYSKRON?
Yes, precisely. It was not just an incentive, it was a clear reason why I made the decision that I did. I find it brilliant that Rudi has his own place here as otherwise I would not be able to work here.
How did your colleagues find it at the beginning? Were there reservations or sceptical views?
Some colleagues asked what they were allowed and not allowed to do. My answer was: As long as you do not pull his tail or ears, then everything else is allowed. We are all lucky that he is so peaceful, friendly and trusting that you can really do anything you want with him. Even the two colleagues who are basically wary of dogs come into our office without even looking to see where Rudi currently is. And that speaks volumes about how great our Rudi is.
The day before yesterday, a colleague came to me just before I wanted to go home, when everyone else had already gone. I thought he wanted to ask me something. He lay down on the floor and allowed Rudi to lick him – which is Rudi’s way of showing he likes someone. If you lower yourself to his level, it is a sign for him that it is time for a play-fight. It is generally the case that Rudi’s presence makes the entire office more relaxed. He shares in your joy and cheers you up if you are in a bad mood. It is nice to see what a positive impact he has on everyone.
How does Rudi feel about being here at the moment? What do you think? And how do you think he finds everyday life with us all?
It is not as though he turns around downstairs at the door threshold and doesn’t want to go in. On the contrary: He likes being in the office. Once he is in here, he knows to whom he can run, who will greet him, who will stroke him and where he can find the best treats. He does the rounds every morning to see if everybody is there and sitting at their desk. I am quite sure that he feels at ease. Dogs do not need attention for the entire day, they need a social environment. And if the social environment involves everyone doing something and scurrying about somewhere, and the dog lying on the floor and doing nothing, then he is OK with that, too. A dog understands relatively quickly that there is sometimes a phase when no-one has time for him. Then he just lies around.
Do you have rules in the office?
Absolutely! Anyone who drops something on the floor which Rudi can get at is responsible for cleaning it up afterwards. For example, Rudi likes playing with cardboard. He rips it up into very small pieces and is better than any shredder. The person who gave him the cardboard – knowing well what Rudi would do with it – must then clear away the waste afterwards. However, food must not be dropped from the desk as Rudi is not allowed anything from the table. He must also abide by the rules that he must never jump up or bark at anyone, and he must never break anything by chewing on it, unless it has been given to him expressly for that purpose, such as cardboard.
Do you have any tips for those people who would also like to take their dog into the office?
Just give it a try! It is best to start off slowly: At first, it is a good idea to take it for an hour or to go to the office at the weekend to let it sniff around. This makes it possible to approach the situation slowly. Then at some stage it is no longer a concern. Most important is that the dog is occupied and also gets some attention by sporadically lowering your hand towards it and stroking it. But that is not a problem in my case. Rudi gets more attention than I do. There are always colleagues around who will play with him for a short time or who will simply pet him briefly in passing.
Rudi has now completed his trial period at SYSKRON with an above-average level of success. Jonas, what is your overall conclusion after a year with your office dog Rudi @ SYSKRON? And, what is more important of course, how does Rudi feel about the situation?
What did you say? The year's over already? I think it speaks for itself that I am now asked every morning by an app if I take Rudi with me to the office so that all colleagues know whether he is present and they can search for him or not. The best experiences for me are: In the morning, when Rudi and I enter the office, one of us is greeted by the colleagues, the other gets a coffee and starts working. Rudi knows exactly who is there, sometimes he holds the pack together and meanwhile he can even take PET bottles out of a crate. But most of all I am happy about the regular and above all continuous grin on all faces when Rudi drops by during a meeting, no matter if guest or colleague. I think that Rudi likes to come to the office, at least every morning he knows exactly where we have to go. By now he would probably find his way on his own. At the end of the day he is still a dog and feels comfortable where he is in company and not alone in an empty apartment, waiting and full of hope that someone will come back.