Mars employees and their furry friends return to the office

The global pet food manufacturer’s newly-renovated headquarters houses a pet office.

In acknowledgement of the special role that pets have played during Covid-19 and working from home during the lockdowns, Mars Africa has decided to create a special office space just for dogs to help reduce their separation anxiety.

Tumi Masekela, corporate affairs director at Mars Multisales Southern Africa, says, “The pandemic has highlighted the role of pets in our lives, having them become an extension of our families. We would like to encourage all citizens and companies to help build a better world for our pets in the post-Covid society.”

She adds, “Science tells us that pet ownership brings a multitude of benefits to our health and wellbeing: from improving our heart health and physical activity to building empathy and strengthening our sense of community.”

According to research by the Waltham Petcare Science Institute, there is accumulating evidence of the benefits of pets offering companionship, relieving stress and even helping to improve attention and memory.

The newly-renovated head office, of the owner of brands including Pedigree, Whiskas, Snickers and Orbit, in Woodmead, Johannesburg now houses a new “pet office” so that employees and their furry friends feel welcomed back to the office after two years of working from home.

During this time, Mars says that it witnessed the changing needs of its associates, took their wellbeing into account and redefined the rules and ways of working based on this experience.

Tumi says, “Enabling our associates to bring their pets into the office is the perfect foundation on which to develop a truly pet-centric culture and encourage pet ownership, not only among ourselves but also more broadly in our wider communities.”

Flexible, collaborative working environment
The global company that refers to its employees as associates, has transformed its regional headquarters into a modern hotdesk system with open spaces that promote a more collaborative approach for meetings and team building.

The company has now introduced a flexible, hybrid approach called the “Future of Work”, which is based on only a portion of the working time being spent in the office.

The new work system, which is based on the feedback provided by associates worldwide, will allow Mars associates to carry out their duties in an environment that best suits their activity.

Another important area of this new strategy focuses on a changed approach to meetings and travel. To reduce the number and time spent at meetings, as well as to keep the health and safety of associates in focus, Mars employees are only required to travel and organise a meeting for specific purposes and are supported by several online tools to do so.

The introduction of this new work model will also reduce business trips around the world, by at least half compared to the pre-pandemic level.

“Remote work also benefits the environment by reducing the carbon footprint of associates travelling daily to offices. All this is to increase work efficiency in balance with health and wellbeing and the implementation of Mars’ sustainability plan,” the company states.