The annual search for the best canine colleague in the country has been underway since Monday. Now in its sixth year, the Frog Recruitment Top Office Dog contest celebrates Kiwi workplaces — including home offices — where pooches are an integral part of the business.
In addition to the Top Office Dog, Top Dog with a Job and People’s Choice awards, 2021 sees a new category included in the competition – Top Dog-Friendly Workplace. The new award will honor a Kiwi organization that puts people first by recognizing the important role a four-legged friend plays in the health and well-being of its employees. The organization can be a show or a pack of dogs – although we’ve heard that the more dogs at work the better!
“For the new category, we’re asking companies why they’ve created a dog-friendly space at work and how it’s impacted the lives of their employees in any way,” says Shannon Barlow, chief executive of Frog. Recruitment.
“Four-legged support can be demonstrated in so many ways in the workplace and the Top Office Dog contest celebrates dogs that help their employees do their best, and their presence that improves the mental health of their owner and their coworkers. They are also known to contribute to a positive work culture,” says Shannon.
With millions of New Zealand workers currently forced to stay at home under Tier 4 lockdown, having a dog for company is proven to improve wellbeing. A study undertaken by Frog Recruitment in April 2020 found that while there was a large increase in employee burnout, there was also a positive impact from having a canine colleague at work, particularly on the mental health of the work-from-home workforce.
“Dogs in the office or at home help their owners and colleagues by providing positive benefits, including improving morale, reducing absenteeism and stress-related illnesses, and helping to improve the physical and mental health of employees” , says Shannon.
Frog created the National Wellness Contest in 2015, and each year more than 420,000 people engage in it via social media.
The premium trophy, New Zealand’s Best Office Dog, will be awarded to a dog that demonstrates its commitment to improving the working lives of its human colleagues. Category winners each win $1,000 in Petstock prizes, and runners-up winners win $250 in Petstock prizes.
Judging will be done by sponsors Petstock, Frog Recruitment and dog trainer and behaviorist, Mark Vette. Last year’s Top Dog was Jagger, a rescue dog who ‘works’ at Chained Dog Rehabilitation in Birkdale, Auckland.
“Jagger, a mastiff cross, is an essential member of staff, who acts as a foster brother to the abandoned, neglected and abused dogs that arrive at the rescue centre. He puts up with them all and they relax around him. All dogs love him – he’s a dog that teaches other dogs to speak the same language,” says Shannon.
Registration for the competition is open from August 30. Visit www.nztopdog.co.nz to complete the entry form and upload a photo of your workplace’s top dog to Instagram. Public voting for the People’s Choice dog will take place in September, with winners announced by Frog Recruitment at the world’s largest Zoom meeting attended by dogs on September 28.
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