UK’s most pet-friendly office opens

With over four in ten Brits getting a new cat or dog in the past two years during the pandemic, premium raw pet food company, Bella & Duke has opened the UK’s most pet-friendly office.

New survey data found nearly 80 per cent of office workers in the UK are currently unable to take their new pet to work due to it not having adequate facilities, which is costing over a third of Brits (39%) on average £100 per week equating to over £5,000 annually on pet day-care. 

Six in ten Brits said if offices across the UK were more pet friendly, they would take their cat or dog into work with them rather than leave at home or put into pet day-care. Over half (51%) of pet owners said they would request to work from home to be able to look after a pet, and nearly a quarter (22%) of pet owners would consider looking for a new job that allows pets in the office highlighting the importance of pet wellbeing to their loving owners.

A collaborative effort between pet experts at Bella & Duke and the build and design team at Space Solutions, has seen the creation of what is believed to be the UK’s most pet-friendly office.

Several benefits, services and facilities have been implemented to improve employee welfare as well as their four-legged companions, including:

  • Full-time Pet & People ‘Park Ranger’ to offer pet support ensuring that the needs of office pets, as well as visiting pets, are being met
  • Bella & Duke’s in-house expert behaviourist, Caroline Spencer, who’s there to ensure pets are at their happiest when in the office. There will also be the opportunity for employees to learn from Caroline and improve their knowledge of dog body language and behaviour
  • Inbuilt kennels for a pet safe and cosy space to relax
  • Designated picket fence pet sensory garden 
  • Agility courses and fun interactive areas for pets to blow off steam, learn new tricks and bond with their owners  
  • Pet-friendly decor and design, with specific plants and flowers such as areca palms, banana plants and aspidistra. As well as a selection of pet-friendly herbs in the pet sensory garden
  • Calming sprays 
  • Toys, snuffle mats and other enrichment
  • Library books where pet owners can educate themselves on how to look after your pet

The top five ways Brits found having a cat or dog helped owners during lockdown included;

  1. Helping with mental health (59%)
  2. Made working from home less lonely (52%)
  3. Gave me a reason to take a break to play/go for a walk (44%)
  4. Gave me a routine to stick to (41%)
  5. Was a good way to build exercise into my daily routine (40%) 

Mark Scott, CEO of Bella & Duke said, “our pets have always been right by us, even more so during lockdown, so we felt it was time we did right by them. We hear of companies talking about being pet friendly, but with pet wellbeing at the core of what our company does, we wanted to take it one step further and create THE UK’s most pet-friendly office. 

“Bella & Duke has over 130 employees with over 60 pets between them from cats and dogs to ferrets and snakes, so we had to make sure our new office space was adaptable to meet our employee needs as well as their companions.

“It’s our mission to help pets live a happier life, so we encourage more businesses to think about their pet-friendly office and work policies to enjoy the benefits four-legged employees can bring.” 

The research helped inform the key design aspects to ensure a pet-friendly office, with Brits revealing the top five ways in which they would like their office to be more pet friendly;

  1. Designated areas for pets such as a cattery or kennels 33%
  2. Pet insurance (25%)
  3. Pawternity (paid leave after getting a pet) (23%)
  4. Treats and calming spray available throughout (23%)
  5. Ensure pet-friendly plants and flowers (22%)

In terms of the benefits having pets in the office could bring, 43 per cent of Brits agree having a cat or dog in the office would boost team morale, over 30 per cent believe people work better with a cat or dog in the office and 36 per cent agree it’s also better for the pet’s wellbeing to accompany their owner to work.

Jim Mathieson, Group Managing Director at Space Solutions added, “our Design & Build team worked closely with Bella & Duke to create a workplace with health and wellbeing at its heart. This project was all about the employee and pet experience and focused on creating a unique and interactive space that goes beyond the conventions of a typical office environment. We were proud to work alongside this hugely passionate company and to have the opportunity to be part of creating the UK’s most pet-friendly office.”

The UK regions which saw the biggest rise in cat/dog owners and where offices might want to consider adapting their offices to accommodate this include;

  1. Wales (51%)
  2. West Midlands (44%)
  3. East of England (38%)
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