When you leave the house for your daily commute, what do you need to remember? Briefcase? Phone? Car keys? How about some dog treats and a lead? For many of us, leaving that sad little whiskery face at the window is one of the worst things about heading off to work in the morning – but with pet-friendly offices on the increase in the UK, saying goodbye to those puppy dog eyes five days a week could soon be a thing of the past.
June 22nd is Fido’s big chance to put on a tie and grab his iPaw, as it’s Bring Your Dog to Work Day – an annual, nationwide event that raises money for charities dedicated to making a difference to the welfare of dogs.
As pet owners, we’ve always known that regular frolics with Fido can reduce stress levels, boost your mood and generally make you feel dog-gone good. Now it seems that workplaces are falling for animal magnetism as well. In 2016, there was even a global competition for professional pooches – StartPup – where start-up companies were invited to show how their office dogs contributed to creativity and positive work environments. The winner was Amelie, a London-based French bulldog belonging to Gemma Huckle at brand agency Rooster Punk. Amelie’s many daily duties include helping reduce staff stress levels and helping to create an atmosphere of approachability.
As well as having a positive effect on staff productivity, Britain’s canines are working like dogs to promote businesses as well. If you’re marketing your business as dog-friendly, having a resident pooch can make all the difference. The general manager at Ellenborough Park in the Cotswolds brings Shar Pei Zeffie to work every day, helping boost the hotel’s reputation for luxury pet-friendly escapes. Meanwhile, at The Gallivant in dog-friendly East Sussex, resident Norfolk terrier Brock has his paw on the pulse, waiting to show visiting hounds the best local smells and scampers. At Hampshire’s Four Seasons Hotel, resident dog Oliver Beckington, a Labrador so aristocratic he has his own surname, ‘represents the hotel’s continual commitment to being a dog-friendly destination.’
Companies across the country are embracing Bring Your Dog to Work Day, including Norfolk and Suffolk solicitors Fosters, who recently posted photos on social media of the staff’s dogs wearing ties and name badges for a ‘legal beagle’ event. Scottish brewing company Brew Dog has gone one better, and introduced a ‘pawsome staff perk’, namely one paid week of puppy parental leave for staff who get a new dog, whether it’s a puppy or a rescue. It’s not just smaller companies, either – US giants Google and Amazon encourage canine office workers. Amazon has around 4,000 dogs registered at its headquarters in Seattle, which works out at about one for every eight employees, and has installed a special dog exercise area.
In fact, the trend has become so mainstream that this year that the US Department of the Interior has launched a ‘doggy day’, the first time ever that any US government department has encouraged dogs at work.
If you don’t have a dog-friendly office to take Fido to on June 22nd, why not rent one? London shared workspace specialists Hubble offer a ‘pet-friendly’ filter when searching for offices, so you can be sure that Fido will be as welcome as you are – if not more so!
If you’re an employer, now’s your chance to sign up some woof-ully good co-workers ready for 22nd June, and help to raise much needed funds for dog charities. If you’re an employee, then pet-ition your boss to be a pet-friendly office now – Fido will thank you.