There was a boom in puppy ownership during the pandemic, as people made the most of having more time at home. But as lockdowns and work from home guidelines eased, a number of workers and businesses have sought advice on allowing dogs in offices, according to Pets at Home.
Jane Beresford, the FTSE 250 retailer’s group director of people partnering, said the chain has come up with a free set of ‘PETiquette’ guidelines offering tips and advice to those looking at bringing their dogs to work, or firms considering whether to allow employees to do so.
For those that do decide to embrace the move, guidelines include: having suitable beds under or close to a pet owner’s desk; having regularly topped up bowls of water close to a dog bed but not in the way of other staff; giving dogs regular exercise outside.
Firms could look to have toy bins containing toys with silent squeakers around the office.
Beresford said: “There can be many benefits to having dogs in the office, including the links to boosting morale and promoting positive mental health. There are also advantages for our pets, who have become used to having their owners at home over the pandemic. But going ‘dog friendly’ should not be a quick decision and that is why we have created our PETiquette guide, so that employers can create the best environment for both their people and pets.”
There will likely be many landlords and companies that don’t want to welcome pets to offices, and of course employees that don’t want to see dogs in headquarters.
But there are some sites that do welcome canines. Flexible workspace provider Clockwise welcomes dogs, but has rules in place. For example dogs are not permitted in café areas, and owners should keep them off office and lounge furniture.
Alexandra Brunner, chief operating officer of Clockwise, said the group has seen a significant increase in dogs at its Wood Green site over the last four months.
Brunner added: “While our members have been keen to return to the office post lockdown, some were anxious that their pets would be bereft being left at home. Fortunately our spaces are pet friendly and as members have come back to the offices, so have their four legged friends.”
Andrew Barnes, head of the central London tenant rep team at property agent Savills, said: “We’ve definitely seen a significant increase in requests from potential occupiers when viewing space if we can add ‘dog access clauses’ in leases with landlords in response to demand from their employees as they return to the office, but to date most aren’t going so far as actually taking extra space to add ‘dog crèches’.”