To some people, a dog-friendly office filled with waggy tails and snuffling noses sums up the perfect workplace. To others, especially those with allergies or a fear of dogs, it’s a living hell.
Some operators actively welcome pets into their spaces. Take WeWork for example – the company’s pet policy states that although owners must take full responsibility and abide by strict rules, WeWork is clearly open to accommodating four-legged companions. In fact, they’ve even got their own ‘Dogs of WeWork’ Pinterest board.
Yet the problem remains. How do you keep dog-friendly and dog-phobic clients happy in the same space?
Bizspace might have the answer.
The UK business centre operator, which manages close to 100 office and workshop sites across England and Scotland, opened a new ‘doggy daycare’ service at its Nottingham centre earlier this month. Managed by Natural Edge Canine Wellbeing, the facility is based in a 5,000 sq ft indoor unit that’s divided into socialisation, relaxation and exercise areas for dogs.
According to Jamie Douglas, manager of Roden House Business Centre in Nottingham, Natural Edge was first referred to Bizspace as a client enquiry from an agent. The new arrival sparked interest from existing clients and local businesses and, after a surge of demand for their pet care services, Natural Edge soon expanded into a larger ground floor space.
“It’s certainly been a topic of discussion for many people,” said Jamie. “I personally try and promote my customers’ businesses to as many people as possible through my connections and networking. There is a lot of interest and a growing number of people have approached me, inquisitive about one of our newest customers.”
The facility is supervised by pet care experts Mags Lowish and business partner Carlton Ellis. Dogs can go to the centre while their owner is at work to get exercise, socialisation and to spend time with other canines. The duo has also developed an app to allow owners to book their pets into the centre.
Growing demand for pet care services
This new service means Bizspace has managed to walk the line between dog-friendly and dog-phobic clients.
For those who don’t enjoy canine company, the facility’s enclosed facility on the ground floor keeps snuffling noses well out of reach. Yet it also gives dog-loving clients the opportunity to bring their beloved pets to work, which could help clients to de-stress and improve productivity. Add to that, pets can be a great facilitator in creating social relationships between employees and other business centre clients – not to mention the added bonus of lunchtime walks with four-legged friends.
And of course for Bizspace, this facility creates a brand new service to appeal to new and existing clients.
All in all it’s a pretty ‘fetching’ idea – but it’s not the first time Bizspace has actively welcomed furry residents to its business centres. Doggy daycare is already available at a number of other locations, including Bolton, Chorley and some centres in the North East.
According to Bizspace, demand for pet care at work is “becoming more widespread in other areas” too.
“The pet care sector is one in which Bizspace is experiencing an increasing number of enquiries as this type of service becomes more mainstream, although it varies from centre to centre. We have a new dog-grooming parlour in Barnsley for example, and have received enquiries regarding training centres, daycare and grooming parlours – particularly in our more northern sites.”
Given this growing interest and its potential draw for pet-owners, Bizspace is keen to expand upon these services, but it’s entirely dependent on the facilities and its effect on other clients. To that end, the company includes a variation within the licence agreement of clients with pets, “to allow us to give them notice if anything relating to the animals, such as barking, becomes an issue and disturbs other customers.”
The sharp rise in demand for flexible workspaces means many business centres are now working to differentiate their offering in new, innovate and niche ways. Far from barking up the wrong tree, this service by Bizspace is a smart move that reacts to the needs of one client demographic without alienating another, leading to happy, productive clients… and plenty of waggy tails.