In the archives department of the town hall of Suresnes (Hauts-de-Seine), no need to ring the bell. Before you even reach the door, a young dwarf spitz barks inopportunely to announce your arrival. Falco, the little ball of hair from Haude, the archivist, “knows how to make himself heard”. For the past two years, the municipal agents of Suresnes have been able to come to work with their animals. “We mainly come across dogs, specifies Béatrice de Lavalette, assistant to the town hall in charge of human resources. Cats are much less sociable, and caged animals are prohibited. As for the most original, they bring their goldfish.
About fifteen of the 1,200 municipal agents in the city now work regularly with his animal. “It’s better for us employers because the agents are more productive, and it’s better for the agents because they’re less stressed. And, of course, it’s good for dogs who don’t stay alone all day, concludes the assistant, who draws a very positive conclusion. It’s just more. »
“The atmosphere is not the same”
“The agents say that even before seeing the dog, they know he is in the room because the atmosphere is not the same,” says Béatrice de Lavalette. Malika’s dog, Hades, has been adopted by the entire HR department. “He’s not even my dog anymore,” she jokes, looking for him in the open space. “Some people I had never talked to before started coming to pet my dog and chat,” says his owner, who sees him as an “icebreaker”.
Its presence helps to calm tensions and reduce stress. “Animals feel that kind of thing,” continues Malika. It happened to me to be very stressed and to see him jump on me, as if to tell me to calm down. Several masters point out that they weigh less by knowing their animal by their side. Colleagues also benefit. Some even offer to take the dog out for a walk, to break up their routine.
“If there are phobics or allergies, that’s what matters”
Before adopting her young spitz, Haude telephoned each of her colleagues. “I didn’t want to take him home alone, but I wanted to make sure nobody would mind. » Colleagues may be the first to be disturbed by the presence of the animal, its barking… or its small accidents. “Last week, there was a day when I did not understand that he wanted to go out and there was an accident in my colleague’s office, she says. But she said nothing, she even wanted to clean up. »
“Agents are still required to have their colleagues sign an agreement before taking their animal,” recalls Arnaud Levy, in charge of communication for the town hall. If there are phobics or allergies, that’s obviously what takes precedence. In cases where a person objects to the presence of the animal, his master could still take him when the latter is on leave or teleworking. On the other hand, it is impossible to work with your animal in services that welcome the public.
Many interested cities
So that the measure brings “only more”, and does not bother anyone, the instructions have been detailed in the rules of procedure of the town hall, and in the agreement signed by the main unions. Documents coveted by many town halls. “More than twenty cities have already contacted us, reports Patrick Joly, human resources officers. They want to know how we managed to implement the measure. »
“At a time when it is difficult to recruit young people, this can be an attractive factor, believes Béatrice de Lavalette. Young people are now less interested in job security than in well-being at work. The deputy recently spoke with the mayor of the 5th arrondissement, Florence Berthout, about her desire to extend the measure to agents of the City of Paris. A wish finally adopted at the last Council of Paris. At the town hall of Suresnes, “we hope that the snowball effect will continue to spread”.