Tony Ottley and Mark Scott: What are the benefits of including pets in workplace culture?

Malcolm Cochrane Photography

Last year we opened what we believe to be the UK’s most pet-friendly office, Parklife. Following lockdowns and pets doing right by us, keeping us company as we worked from home, we felt we needed to do right by them.

We often hear of organisations 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. We have over 130 employees with more than 60 pets between them, so we had to make sure our new office space was adaptable to meet our employee needs as well as their companions.

The benefits speak for themselves.

When we opened Parklife, we conducted research and found 80% of office workers in the UK are currently unable to take their pet to work due to it not having the adequate facilities, which is costing over a third of people (39%) on average £100 per week equating to over £5,000 annually on pet day-care. In a cost-of-living crisis, we want to make it as easy as possible for our staff to look after their pets while being able to interact in person with their colleagues.

As a team, we are all passionate about animals, and being around them only helps boost team positivity even further. To create an environment to be able to deliver the best work, while enjoying the company of our pets, we have a full-time Pet and People ‘Park Ranger’ to offer pet support ensuring that the needs of our office pets, as well as visiting pets are being met, as well as agility courses and fun interactive areas for pets to blow off steam, and safe spaces for pets to relax.

We know that interacting with pets can help reduce stress and improve morale. Not only that, but being flexible to pet owners increases job satisfaction and helps us recruit the most passionate and talented team possible. It is also imperative we live by our mission and commitment to give pets the healthy, happy, and long lives they deserve.

It is 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 our four-legged employees can bring to our working day.

Tony Ottley, chief operating officer (COO) and founder, and Mark Scott, chief executive officer (CEO) and founder, Bella and Duke