Tex has a pretty glamorous life. The three year old Labradoodle is the resident dog at private jet bookings company, PrivateFly. When he’s not enthusiastically welcoming celebrity clients at their St Albans office, or stealing sausages at team BBQ’s, he’s jetting around in first class style – #LIFEGOALS.
To celebrate Bring Your Dog to Work Day on Friday 24th June, we bring you the next in our series of pet friendly workspace tours. Adam Twidell, CEO of PrivateFly introduces us to Tex and lets us have a sniff around this very pet friendly workplace.
Location: St Albans
Tell us about PrivateFly?
PrivateFly is a private jet booking service, linking customers with over 7,000 private jets based worldwide. Our disruptive technology platform and expert team make it faster and easier to book a private jet.
Introduce us to your resident pets.
Our main pet team member is Tex, a 3-year old Labradoodle. Others pop into the office from time to time.
Why did you decide to become a pet friendly workplace?
It started out as a practical arrangement. Tex is my own dog, and my wife Carol is the co-founder of PrivateFly, and also works in the company. We quickly found there were real positives to him being here, rather than it just being convenient.
What does the team love most about having Tex in the office?
Having Tex here creates a sense of fun that embodies our company ethos. It helps that he is a very calm character but I think everyone genuinely enjoys his company.
One of the reasons people choose to travel by private jet is because pets can travel in the cabin with their owners, rather than in the hold. Having Tex around is also helpful for team members who don’t own dogs – to better understand our clients’ needs and to help us with our marketing to dog-loving clients. We often visit private jet airports for meetings, or to see off or welcome client flights, so we’ll take Tex with us if it’s an airport that offers particular facilities for pets travelling by private jet.
Having a dog also disciplines you to get out of the office, even on the busiest of days. So I’ll hold one-to-ones while we’re out on a dog walk and I have generated new business from striking up a conversation with a fellow dog owner while in the park – who turned into a customer; it’s a natural icebreaker and opener.
Where does Tex spend most of his time in the office?
Tex has a bed in my office and spends about half of his time in there, but often he’ll walk freely around our open plan space. He has his favourites in our team of course, and I suspect that has more than a little bit to do with their taste in biscuits!
Do you have any pet policies?
We’ll always check with visitors and new team members if they are OK with dogs. And we’ll keep him away from anyone who isn’t. He is rarely a distraction but there are of course times when he needs to be kept out of the way, so he’ll stay in my office then.
What’s the funniest thing Tex has done at work?
We regularly hold team meetings and presentations over lunch and it’s our tradition that on your first day at PrivateFly, you man the barbecue for lunch. Tex is a tall dog and unfortunately one new team member (who shall remain nameless) wasn’t briefed on the importance of putting the sausages on the highest of the tables.
As first generation Labradoodle, Tex does shed his blonde hair more than we expected. There was one occasion when he was due a visit to the groomer and a high-profile celebrity client come in to the office wearing an all-black outfit. Tex greeted him enthusiastically, which was an unfortunate combination. Luckily the client was a dog-lover and saw the funny side.
Can you recommend any great dog-friendly places nearby?
We’re lucky in St Albans as there are lots of great parks and outdoor spaces and it’s generally a positive environment for dogs. My local pub, the Rose & Crown in Sandridge is close to Heartwood Forest – one of our favourite places to walk, and it’s particularly dog-friendly. They have dog treats on the bar and we always feel very welcome there. Waterstones bookshop in St Albans is also very dog-friendly which surprises some people.
Would you encourage other companies to introduce a pet friendly policy?
I think it very much depends on the workplace, and you have to respect the views of your team. Not everyone loves animals, but Tex fits in very well here and adds a lot to life at PrivateFly.
Get involved with Bring Your Dog to Work Day on the Friday the 24th of June and help raise funds for All Dogs Matter by visiting: bringyourdogtoworkday.co.uk. Bring Your Dog to Work Day is organised by natural pet grooming company, HOWND.