Dogs Trust offers ‘suppawt’ for dog friendly businesses

Dogs Trust has launched a Dog Friendly Workplaces programme, for organisations who want to support their workforces amidst the rise of ownership of canine companions.

The programme has been established in response to growing concerns among dog owners about what their physical return to work will mean for their dogs, who have become used to them working from home over the last couple of years.

Britain saw a 24% rise in dog ownership during the pandemic, with many new owners under 35. It is our hope that, by offering companies a potential solution, it can work with employers to reduce the number of dog owners who will be forced to make the heart-breaking decision to give up their dogs because they can’t look after them during the working day.

Dog Friendly Workplaces will help companies to support not only their doggy owning employees, but also their clients, customers, and other visitors by creating a dog-welcoming and happy environment for all so they can bring their canine companions into their place of business. The programme also provides training and enrichment resources for dogs at home, to help them adjust to their new routine in which their owners may not be at home as much.

In October 2021 we carried out the National Dog Survey - the biggest ever survey of dog owners, with over 350,000 respondents –which revealed deep concerns from owners about what they would do about dog care after they returned to work. Over a third of respondents were working from home at the time and 55,000 said that, ideally, they would like to take their dogs to work, but that their employers wouldn’t allow them to do so. Many others said they had to rely on families and friends or had to pop back in their lunch hours to see their dogs.

We have gained insight that businesses are realising that by having a dog friendly environment available, they can support their doggy owning employees in physically returning to work, which can ease feelings of anxiety and can also mitigate additional costs of having their dogs cared for during the day. 

The Dog Friendly Workplaces programme is a new benefit that organisations can offer their employees. It comprises a comprehensive training package for dog owners, offering engaging, informative content, such as regular live webinars with training and tips for dogs going into workplaces or while at home. It will help workforces prepare themselves, their own or visiting dogs, colleagues, customer and visitors, and their work settings, should they choose to take their canine companion on their daily commute to work. 

For organisations themselves, we can offer bespoke training and advice to ensure your place of business is dog friendly and safe for all visitors – people and pooches alike. 

Jenna Kiddie, Head of Canine Behaviour said:

“Our Dog Friendly Workplaces programme aims to guide businesses in their planning to welcome dogs into their workplace, including dog welfare, human health and safety considerations, and advice to keep everyone in the office comfortable. 

“For employees we offer fun, bitesize training and behaviour tips through our Dog Friendly Workplaces member-only website, perfect for browsing during a tea break! Whether they are new to dogs or have always had dogs in their lives, employees will be able to test their doggy knowledge with interactive quizzes and learn something new. We also have articles packed full of tips for anyone considering taking their dog into a place of business, to help make it a smooth and happy transition for everyone involved.” 

Dog Friendly Workplaces can be used to aid businesses in a number of ways, from supporting not only their dog-owning employees, but also supporting staff to help welcome visitor’s dogs. Forward-thinking organisations are already utilising this programme, such as flexible workspace provider WeWork, which is giving their employees and members access to the resources, while MINI UK is using the initiative to support their workforce to welcome customers’ dogs into their showrooms. WeWork offers dog-friendly workspaces in most of its UK locations.

Jennie Becker, Director of Events & Activations, WeWork UK & Ireland commented:

“It’s great to be able to support our members with this helpful programme of information, some of whom really value the flexibility of bringing their dog to work. 

“Our pet policy also makes sure everybody feels comfortable in our spaces, and we find that welcoming dogs can boost the overall well-being and experience of our members and can even facilitate more social interactions within our community.”  

Organisations can find out more information on this service and how to sign up, by visiting: https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/get-involved/corporate-partnerships/dog-friendly-workplaces/

Dogs Trust encourages workforces to discuss this service with their HR representatives.