Vet-tech firm is transforming the industry with flexible approach

Vet-AI, the research and development company behind online vet care app Joii, has reported its flexible working ethos has proven successful in supporting the mental wellbeing of the industry’s professionals and retaining talent in the sector.

Founded by experienced vets Robert Dawson and Sarah Warren, alongside tech entrepreneur Paul Hallett, the Leeds-based firm is using technology to improve the mental health of veterinary professionals, while making pet care affordable and accessible for all pet owners.

Its approach to flexibility and remote working has proven to be the key to reducing the number of people leaving the profession or committing suicide due to stress, with a study of the firm’s vets and nurses in February revealing that 94% felt it was ‘very important’ to have flexible working conditions to improve their mental health and 74% said working for Joii Pet Care had improved their mental health.

The firm currently employs more than 50 veterinary professionals worldwide and is expanding rapidly to meet the increased demand for its services as a result of the pandemic. Its roster currently includes professional ins Australia, Europe, the Caribbean as well as the UK, and it’s this growing number of employees based outside of the UK which enables the business to uses a “follow the sun” approach reducing the need for night shifts in the UK while maintaining availability.

One of its international employees is skier, triathlete and mountain biker Nienke Oostra who joined Vet-AI in 2019. Having previously struggled to combine her passions for sport and animal care she quit her previous role at a veterinary practice and was considering leaving the industry as a result of the long hours and stress.

Now working for Joii she is combining her love of the great outdoors with her job as a vet, all while living in the French Alps. By day, she can be found exploring the mountain ranges and around her altitude adventures, she advises pet owners back in the UK via the Joii Pet Care app.

“I’d lost my passion for veterinary medicine in my previous role because of the demands on me and the damage it was having on my mental health. I would have absolutely left the profession if I hadn’t found Joii.

“Joii offered so many opportunities for me personally and professionally because it’s the first time I’ve been able to fit both [sport and my work] in my life and feel happy. I can work from anywhere, as I just need a good Wi-Fi connection.”

Sarah Warren, Vet-AI and Joii Pet Care co-founder, explained: “Our team is constantly growing because of the demand for digital healthcare in an ever-changing and challenging world and we embrace vets and nurses from all over the world who would like to work in their own time zones to help support our 24/7 round-the-clock care.

“The veterinary industry reports very high levels of stress and concerning statistics on depression and suicide. This is why we are so passionate about working with our team to improve their quality of life. We want to have a positive impact on people’s lives and we believe that with the use of innovative technologies we are improving the lives of pets and people.

“When we first conceived the idea of Vet-AI we had two very simple and clear missions; the first was to make pet care more accessible and affordable for every pet owner on the planet, and the second was to improve the work-life balance of veterinary professionals. I am incredibly proud of the positive impact that our survey has shown that we are having on our clinical team, allowing them to do the job that they love, whilst prioritising their quality of life and enjoying the things that they love and makes them happiest.”