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Demand for dogs in the workplace increases post-lockdown

In recent weeks, many workers have faced the inevitable post-pandemic return to their workplace. But what happens to the 12 million dogs in the UK who now face being left home alone?

A recent study found that 54 per cent of pet owners would consider quitting their job if their employer didn’t allow them to take their dog to work. But with many employers not fully understanding the implications of having a dog in the workplace, the National Pet College (NPC) has launched the unique Dogs in the Workplace online course, aimed at equipping employers and employees who want to share their working space with dogs in a responsible and safe way.

There are many benefits to having dogs in the workplace, including improvements in colleagues’ mental health and wellbeing, stress reduction due to the human/animal bond, improved staff morale and the need to take regular breaks away from the screen with their dog outside in the fresh air.

To deliver confidence to both management and other team members that dogs in the workplace is a positive step for the business to take, the NPC’s online training portal will guide learners through a six-step process to allow them to overcome the challenges and develop a positive, dog-friendly culture.

With separate modules for the employer to develop a suitable ‘Dogs in the Workplace’ policy and for employees to ensure their dog is a suitable candidate to have in the workplace, the courses will ensure sensible and robust procedures are in put place that protect the business, other workers, clients and ensure the welfare of dogs themselves. In addition, employers will be supported in developing a ‘doggy code of conduct’ and suitable risk assessments, while owners will be provided with basic dog behaviour guidance to enable them to undertake the ‘goodness of fit’ behaviour evaluation.

Supported by the Pet Industry Federation and DogFriendly, the comprehensive National Pet College training could lead to many more dogs becoming part of everyone’s working lives.

Vicky Skinner, National Pet College’s Head of Education, commented: “We have long been aware of the benefits of having dogs in the workplace, be it as companionship or as therapy. Businesses of all sizes can take advantage of these benefits – including productivity, employee morale and attracting new talent – and with the right training, will be suitably equipped with the tools to ensure that dogs are integrated into the workplace smoothly and with consideration to other staff and the dog’s welfare.

“The demand for dogs in workplaces has increased significantly since lockdown ended, and we believe that soon, dogs could become a permanent fixture in many offices, supporting their owners with wellbeing and enhancing the work/life balance.

“The National Pet College is the first education provider in the UK to recognise the need to deliver training in this subject, and provide accreditation that will ensure both employers and employees feel confident about having dogs in their place of work.”

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Sara Bean, Editor of FMJ, and Jess Pritchard, Head of Corporate Sector at Moneypenny are joined by panellists:

  • Mark Whittaker, General Manager, Thomson FM & Chair of IWFM
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  • David Bauld, Group Facilities Manager, Paradigm Housing
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