Essen/Munich, 18 November 2020 –In the series of American presidents, Donald Trump was the only one not to bring a pet to the White House. He thus broke with a long tradition, as every American president – starting with George Washington – had brought at least one furry companion with them.
This might change with Joe Biden in January 2021, who has announced to bring two dogs with him. He might have gotten some inspiration from TA Europe, where we do have dogs around from time to time – even though there is no firm policy around pets in the office.
While dog Sirius in our Munich office is still getting used to our business and observes what is going on with much attention, dog Kalle in our Essen office is more advanced and even gives TDD reports the final touch.
In TA Europe’s Munich office, dog Sirius has become a regular guest. “He is not allowed to go to every room in the office”, explains Jamie Wilkinson, who brought not only project management skills but also the rescued dog to the office. “We discussed this and found the following solution: We will respect people who are not such dog enthusiasts – so certain areas are off-limits to him.” While Sirius is allowed to go stay on the second floor, he may not enter the first floor, the kitchen and meeting room downstairs.
Kalle in Essen does not come to the office regularly but enjoys accompanying Volker Weisbrod on some occasions. His presence is limited to the second floor, and other desks than Volker’s one are taboo for Kalle. “He is a sensible dog who understands not everybody wants him to edit reports and eliminate typos – and that’s fine for him”, says Volker. When Kalle is not in the office, he enjoys some leisure time at Volker’s home.
“Sirius is a very calm and friendly dog”, says Anika Steiner, who also works in our Munich office, “I am very happy we as a team were given the choice to find a solution which works for all of us. As we grow as a firm, we need to keep this spirit of freedom. It is one of the reasons so many people love working here.”
“As I would love to have a dog myself, I totally supported Jamie bringing Sirius”, adds Fotis Dimitroulas, Head of Project Management, “and since he is well-behaved, many colleagues adore him. Due to the clear decisions we took jointly, everybody is fine with the current set-up.”
With such topics, there is obviously no ‘one size fits all’ approach. While some team members love having their dog around, there might be people with allergies or a fear of larger animals. At TA Europe, we reached a consensus which works for all of us – as long as nobody wishes to bring a cat… or an alligator – which was the case decades ago in the White House. The gator lived there temporarily under President Quincy Adams. Well, different times back then.