• News
  • Columns
  • Interviews
  • BW Communities
  • Events
  • BW TV
  • Subscribe to Print


I Work In A Startup And Pets Are Allowed In Our Office. My Boss Brings His Dog To Work Every Day. While Most Of Them Are Friendly, I Am Phobic To Animals. I Cannot Focus On My Work. Can I Raise This Issue With HR Or Senior Management?

There is no separate enclosure for pets. Nobody takes my fear seriously and laughs it off. I am thoroughly disturbed.

Betska K-Burr, Accredited Master Coach

When we are confronted with any challenge including phobias, the gift we must give ourselves is inner reflection.
Here are some questions to reflect on:
1. When did this phobia start and why?
2. Somehow the phobia is helping you learn something about yourself.
What is it?
Why is it important to let go of the phobia? Well, animals are our friends, our spiritual helpers. One of my dogs, for example, helped me develop a science which now helps millions of people globally. We can easily see evidence elsewhere. Therapy dogs don’t speak but so many humans heal simply from their presence. My advice is to heal your phobia so that your life can be enriched by our animal friends who teach us how to love unconditionally. Perhaps loving yourself and others unconditionally including animals is what this phobia is teaching you. What do you think?

JP Singh, Management Consultant and Executive Coach

Yes, you should definitely raise your concern and share your feelings with your seniors and HR. While it is perfectly fine to have a practice as you describe, it should not ‘transgress’ into someone’s physical or psychological space ….. that is ‘aggression’, treading into another person’s personal physical and/or psychological space.
The organisation should allow an environment that is comfortable and convenient and congenial for the flowering of all stakeholders. And that will be good for the organisation as well. No one should work under continuous stress and fear. Apart from affecting work, such continued stress/fear can lead to health issues too.
Your discussion should lead to a solution that is win-win for all, towards mutual co-existence and harmony; an ecosystem that encourages ‘Symbiotic co-existence’ as in nature, where similar close co-ordination exists among different species; known as symbiosis and the resulting living systems have the characteristics of a single system.

MMH Beg, Head-Human Resources, Bharti Foundation

Now a days, some of the tech companies and startups are moving towards the practice of allowing its employees to bring their pets along. Pets (cats, dogs etc) at workplace may be a fun, a stress reliever, morale booster and a catalyst in increasing camaraderie, it has its flip side as well. Presence of dogs/cats may be allergic, scary and distracting for some of the people and while adopting such practices, their views must be obtained. The Top management/HR should ensure that there is an earmarked zone for pets and they should not be allowed to move freely. If it is felt that presence of the dog is too scary for some of the people, it should even be banned. After all, it’s employer’s responsibility to ensure a physically and psychologically friendly environment to its people.