The winners of New Zealand’s annual search for the nation’s top office dogs will be announced in the world’s largest canine Zoom call on 28 September.
Now in its sixth year, the Frog Recruitment Top Office Dog competition celebrates Kiwi workplaces – including home offices – where pooches are an integral part of the business.
Organisers expect more than 400 ‘working’ canines will put themselves forward for the top prize along with their human carers.
With 353 dogs entered today, entries are open until midnight on Sunday 19 September for the Top Office Dog, Top Dog with a Job and People’s Choice awards – and 2021 has seen a new category included in the competition – Top Dog-Friendly Workplace.
The new award honours a Kiwi organisation that puts their people first by recognising the important role a four-legged friend plays in the health and wellbeing of its employees, and one that has welcomed their dogs to work in a well-managed way.
“For the new category, we asked companies why they have created a dog-friendly space at work and what has been the impact on their employees’ lives,” says Frog Recruitment Managing Director Shannon Barlow.
A judging panel consisting of Petstock, Frog Recruitment and dog trainer and behaviourist, Mark Vette will decide the four winners.
Wellington’s Pip Prouting from Wellington City Council says her Shiba Inu x Japanese Spitz Teddy is worthy of a prize because, in addition to learning to respond to commands in Te Reo Maori, “During lockdown Teddy has helped lift the moral of my colleagues who’ve been working hard at construction sites – she has been making appearances at Zoom team meetings. Teddy is also able to dance to rap songs.”
Research undertaken by Frog Recruitment in New Zealand in April last year found there is a positive impact from having a canine colleague at work, particularly on the mental health of the work-from-home workforce, and especially in a tough Covid-induced lockdown.
Frog Recruitment Managing Director Shannon Barlow says, “Globally we have long known the positive effects dogs at work have on culture in the workplace, and if it’s well-managed, actually increases productivity in the workplace. It can have benefits on team cohesion and generally elevate the mood in the workplace.
“Our Frog Recruitment poll last year heard from office and home-office workers that having a dog working near them improved morale and reduced stress through pandemic times. This is echoed in this year’s entries – the common thread reveals the effect that dogs have on their owners while they work from home or through the pandemic, that having them close has helped their physical and mental health. Some entrants have detailed how their dog supported them through the grief of the death of a loved one that has passed away from Covid illness, the stress of job loss, and the anxiety caused by separation from friends, family and colleagues.”
The Top Office Dog, Dog with a Job and Top Dog-Friendly Workplace awards will be announced on 28 September at a Zoom meeting where all entrants are invited.
The announcement is believed to be the world’s largest gathering of dogs in a video meeting.
Public voting for the People’s Choice dog will open online this Monday and people have until Monday 27 September to vote for their favourite pooch.
All entrants receive a $20 PetStock voucher. The winning dogs will receive a trophy, a PetStock prize pack worth $1000, six month’s access to Mark Vette’s virtual online training school, Doggles and a bow.