Reigning cats and dogs: Companies try new ways to combat work stress


Office pets seems to be the new mantra in employee stress management.

From bright office designs to more frequent breaks, companies are now finding newer and  innovative ways to deal with work stress. Office pets seems to be the new mantra in this area,  with some organisations providing pet-care leaves and others even allowing employees to get their pets to work.

Recently, a Scottish firm introduced a week-long leave for its staff to enable them to ‘bond’ with their new dogs, while a Japanese firm came up with an ‘office cat’ policy.

Japan, known for its workaholic and stressful culture, has most businesses struggling to find ways to relieve employee stress. Tokyo based IT company Ferray found its stress handling mantra in cats.

Ferray’s head, Hidenobu Fukuda, introduced an ‘office cat’ policy in 2000, driven by the request of an employee. The policy allows staffers to bring their cats to work.

Now, a total of nine fluffy felines eat, sleep and walk freely in the small office of Ferray in Tokyo. These rescue cats let people unwind from work and relieve their stress, spending a few cosy moments with their furry friends during work hours.

Fukuda also pays 5,000 yen a month to people who rescue cats. At the same time, other Japanese companies are also allowing animals in the office to help reduce stress and anxiety. Interestingly, Tokyo also has about 60 registered cat cafes.

Oracle’s Japan office also has a similar way of fighting work stress. Its unusual employee, an old English sheepdog named Candy, works as a ‘greeting and healing ambassador’. The company has had an office dog since 1991. Candy, the fourth one, was hired in 2010 as a puppy and now has its own Twitter and Instagram accounts.

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