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Workplace Pet: Alfie the golden retriever

'Head of Happiness' isn't a role to be taken lightly, and the team at SB Homes haven't made any compromises when it comes to appointing their wellbeing woofer. Alfie the golden retriever is always on hand to brighten up the office and bring smiles to colleagues and customers alike.

What does your company do?

We have been building bespoke, new houses throughout Huddersfield for the past 22 years.

As an SME house builder, we like to keep control over our projects by managing everything in-house. For example, we acquire the land, create the plans, construct the properties and provide sales and after-care help.

We’re a little different to most house developers because we don’t have a house type – we design properties that suit their surroundings, considering everything from the land layout and the local people, to the area and the environment.

And introduce us to your workplace pet… What’s their name, and what kind of pet are they?

Alfie is a six-year-old Golden Retriever, or as we all call him in the office, our ‘Head of Happiness’.

How did they become your workplace pet?

Sophie Byram, who is a director of SB Homes, brought Alfie into her family in March 2013. Ever since then, he has been spreading happiness around the office!

What’s it like having an animal around the place?

Alfie lives up to his nickname. No matter how busy work is, whenever Alfie is around, everyone’s mood is instantly lifted.

What made you decide to bring pets into your workplace?

SB Homes is a family-run business; and because we love dogs, it was inevitable that our dogs would become part of the workplace.

Does it have an effect on stress, and on how the whole team works together?

Alfie is always there to make us smile and make the working day a lot more fun! He even greets customers; which they love.

Any unexpected benefits? Or, indeed, pitfalls?

It’s always a bonus when our clients come into the office with their children. He’s brilliant with kids, and it means the family leaves with a smile on their face – which we hope is also due to our service!

There’s definitely no pitfalls involved with having him around. He even eats any of our leftovers – we hate waste!

Who’s responsible for walking, feeding, cleaning… any of the ‘less popular’ jobs?

It’s not often that Alfie is in the office for a full day; Sophie will bring him in for a couple of hours at a time. But if he needs a little wee break, it is usually Sophie who takes him out. He’s very low maintenance though, he’s usually happy with a few leftovers and strokes.

Ever find it a distraction?

Definitely! But a welcomed distraction. Alfie loves attention and is too gorgeous to resist. However, he is also happy to find a comfy spot and fall asleep – usually at the top of the office stairs!

What would you tell other people who were reluctant to take in an office pet?

If you have a dog as lovely as Alfie, then go for it!

Ashleigh Smith
Article by Ashleigh Smith
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