Saturday saw the return of International Dog Day, a global celebration dedicated to honouring and appreciating the special bond between humans and dogs while advocating for their well-being. At sixteen3, it’s common to step into the office, warehouse, or showroom and get an enthusiastic greeting from one of our four-legged colleagues. Here’s Rocco lounging on the Odyssey at our Cheshire HQ.
“We take pride in being a dog-friendly company that embraces the joyful presence of our furry friends in the workplace. It helps staff manage their work-life balance, and the dogs never fail to create a positive atmosphere”
– shares Sixteen3 Managing Director Paul Chamberlain. Paul’s dogs – Cockerpoo Fudge and Australian Labradoodle Freida (on Sedir below) – often assist in the production department.
The popularity of dog-friendly workspaces in the UK is on the rise, with more and more employers recognizing the advantages. Beyond creating a waggy workplace atmosphere, this trend offers benefits to staff, visitors, and even our beloved furry companions.
Research supports the positive effects of animal interaction on well-being. Countless studies reveal that human-dog interactions trigger an oxytocin surge, a hormone responsible for reducing stress and lowering cortisol levels. Oxytocin promotes relaxation and cultivates a sense of happiness among employees, and it’s no secret that happiness is the key to a productive workforce.
Poppy, the sales dog (on Otto above), brings her contagious enthusiasm to our London showroom almost every week. Alexia, her owner and a valued member of sixteen3’s sales team says,
“Having Poppy at the showroom is so great. She’s an expert at showing how comfy the sofas are and loves welcoming visitors. My customers really enjoy seeing her – she makes our meetings more enjoyable and laid-back.”
But it’s not just about company benefits and delighting customers. There’s a significantly heightened demand from employees and job hunters for companies to accept our pets. It’s an unsurprising trend, undoubtedly linked to the recent increase in living costs. Combine this with the dramatic rise in pet ownership during the pandemic, and the result is more people who are close to their beloved pets and want to save on doggy day care costs.
When work-from-home guidance ended in January 2022, searches for dog-friendly offices rose by 53%, according to careers platform Flexa Careers. Having the option to bring your dog to work is not only an immensely desirable perk but, for many, it has become a necessity. Therefore, if workplaces are to attract and retain staff, a dog-friendly policy is an invaluable factor.
Meet Bear, the Husky (above) who belongs to sixteen3 designer Hayley. A lockdown rescue, Bear has had to adapt to a more varied pace of life since the pandemic.
“Bringing Bear to work is incredibly helpful.”, Hayley says, “I live far from the office and juggle a busy schedule. He’d be alone for longer than I’d like some days if I couldn’t bring him in. He also loves coming in and seeing everybody – possibly because he gets given sneaky snacks. Not to mention the variety of comfy showroom sofas he likes to snooze on.”
Known for his mischievous antics, Bear has been caught red-pawed with his head in the kitchen bin, loves talking over people in meetings and has been branded a thief for stealing crisps from the meeting room.
Before you rush to let the dogs in, there are a few serious things to think about. Make sure you’re barking up the right tree with our top tips:
• Dog-proof your space. Or even better, create specific doggy-designated areas for play or downtime.
• Create a rota to schedule your canine companions.
• Accidents happen – keep pet cleaning supplies handy.
• Be considerate of non-dog lovers among staff.
• Ensure staff safety through risk assessments and policies.
• Visiting dogs should have pet insurance.
• Be aware all dogs are different. They won’t all suit office life.
It’s not always a walk in the park, but with a few considerations, your workplace can be a pawsome space for everyone!