Dog days

This Friday marks two important events. Firstly, it is national ‘Bring Your Dog to Work Day’. In support of this event, the organisers cite studies claiming productivity benefits, reduced stress and greater job satisfaction associated with having four-legged friends in the workplace. The organisers acknowledge that this might not be suitable for all workplaces and offer advice such as bringing a bed. However, some large businesses like Amazon have up to 6,000 canine employees turning up to the office all year round. The second event is ‘Chat Day’ being promoted by several public transport operators across the UK. In this, operators such as West Coast Virgin will be offering ‘chat carriages’ for the day (presumably the opposite of a quiet coach), while Arriva are putting ‘conversation starter’ cards on their buses to encourage interaction. Sometimes you need to be careful what you wish for. As a commuter into Waterloo, I’m not sure that the passengers on South West Trains this morning would have been in the mood to chat, or that the conversation would be particularly polite. There is a common element to these two events. We talk about humans wanting to interact with each other as unquestioned truth. The reality might be, as confirmed by a survey last year, that people simply prefer to chat to animals than to fellow commuters.