Rough day at work? Get some playtime with dogs or cats at the office, come mid-2023

SPCA is hoping its dogs or cats can help to alleviate stress in workers. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG
National Development Minister Desmond Lee with Jack Russell Terrier Win, a dog up for adoption at the SPCA, on Oct 15, 2022. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Something furry may join employees at the work pow-wow at two companies for a start come 2023, if a plan by SPCA to have its animals which are up for adoption visit workplaces comes to pass.

The animal welfare organisation is hoping its dogs or cats can help to alleviate stress in workers and is aiming to launch the corporate wellness programme by the second quarter of 2023.

One of the factors that fuelled the idea was a Straits Times article in 2021 which showed that 89 per cent of respondents in a survey said their pets had a positive impact on their mental well-being during Covid-19.

Ms Aarthi Sankar, executive director of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, also noted that there has been more focus on mental health recently.

She said: "Mental health and well-being is a key issue and workplace stress is a factor that may contribute to that."

"So we believe that having animals at the workplace can help employees relieve stress," she added.

Two companies, one of which is a consultancy firm, have expressed interest to be part of the programme when it launches in 2023, she said.

Details of the other company, as well as how many animals will be involved in the programme, were not disclosed.

Minister for National Development Desmond Lee, who was the guest of honour at SPCA's "Paws for a Cause" gala benefit dinner at One Farrer Hotel on Saturday, also said: "These sessions will be mutually beneficial. They can help to socialise the community animals, while at the same time enhancing the mental well-being of people in workplaces."

Ms Sankar said the programme also aims to give animals which were strays or may have been abandoned a chance to socialise with people.

It can also have a "matchmaking" effect, if employees who have made a personal connection with an animal which visited their workplace decide to adopt it.

Ms Sankar emphasised that details will need to be ironed out before the programme launches to ensure the safety of both the animals and the workers.

Ms Aarthi Sankar (left) said the programme aims to give animals which were strays or may have been abandoned a chance to socialise with people. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

She said: "For instance, we have to ensure the workplaces are suitable for the animals and that the landlords of the office spaces are comfortable with pets in the area.

"If some employees are not comfortable with dogs, we can always have the option of having cats visit their workplaces instead."

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