Working at Home with Pets: A Survival Guide
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home has become the new normal for countless full-time workers nationwide. This shift from traditional workspaces has created a unique opportunity for pet owners to spend extra time with their furry companions. More and more employers now view remote and hybrid arrangements as a long-term solution and are open to pet-friendly policies.
While many days spent at home with our pets may be a dream come true, working from home with pets does come with its own challenges. Staying productive while ensuring your pets are happy and content can be challenging.
- With the pandemic came a unique opportunity for pet owners to work alongside their furry friends.
- As remote workers adjust to the new normal, they are learning how to maintain professionalism while caring for their pets.
- Working from home with pets can be challenging, but it can also be extremely rewarding with the proper routine.
That’s why we’ve curated a list of tips for working from home with your pets to help you strike the perfect balance between work and pet care.
1. Create a Pet-Friendly Workspace
It’s essential to have a designated pet-friendly workspace when working from home. Ensure the area is free of cords, hazards, and anything your pet might chew on. This includes ensuring that anything toxic—including house plants—is out of reach. We recommend considering a playpen or baby gate to keep your dog or cat safely confined.
Additionally, make sure you provide cozy spots with water and food for your pet so they feel comfortable and welcomed in the space.
2. Reduce Distractions
Minimize distractions by providing your pet with engaging toys, puzzles, and treats. Start by creating a comfortable, safe space for them in your office space to keep them happy and occupied. Avoid toys that create excess noise, like squeaking, that could distract you or interrupt a virtual meeting.
3. Incorporate Exercise
Regular exercise is essential for your pet’s physical and mental well-being—and yours! Plan to schedule short play and exercise breaks to keep your pets active and keep them from getting bored. A brisk walk or game of fetch can be an energizing and rewarding experience for both you and your furry companion.
4. Set Boundaries
Make sure your pet is trained to understand boundaries, especially during work hours. Using commands like “stay,” “place,” and “lay down” can help regulate their behavior when you need to focus on tasks. Remember that consistency can go a long way in making your workspace peaceful.
5. Invest in Pet Behavior Training
Even the most basic obedience training can make a world of difference when working from home with pets. Training helps regulate animal behavior, helping you establish healthy work habits.
Consult with your veterinarian for positive behavior strategies or ask for a referral to a board-certified trainer.
6. Prepare for Virtual Meetings with Pets
Let your colleagues know about your furry friends before video conferencing, and introduce your pet to your team if time allows! Use a virtual background or keep your pets in a different room during meetings to minimize distractions. It’s also good to keep your microphone on mute when you’re not speaking to prevent any unexpected barking or meowing.
7. Create a Routine
Developing a structured daily routine is recommended for both you and your pets. Ensure the routine accommodates your work responsibilities and your pet’s daily needs. Though it can be challenging to create a habit, staying consistent in your routine will help your pet adapt more quickly.
8. Prioritize Mental Well-Being and Stress Management
Our furry friends provide us with emotional support and help reduce stress. Enjoy the benefits of having them in your home office with you and take short breaks to spend quality time with them.
A quick petting session or cuddle break can improve your mental well-being and help you de-stress.
Working from home with your furry friends may require some adjustments, but it can be a rewarding experience overall for both pets and their parents. With some planning, you can maximize the co-working experience with your pets and create a productive working environment. You may also want to research virtual and in-home vet care options, which can fit in seamlessly with remote and hybrid work arrangements.
Your pets can be wonderful companions during your remote work journey, adding joy and comfort to your daily routine. With the right balance, you can make remote work with pets a positive and fulfilling experience!
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I crate my dog when I’m working from home?
Crate training can be a great option to keep your dog safe and contained during meeting and focus times. If your dog is not used to being in a crate, start with small increments and build up slowly over time. If your dog becomes overly anxious when crated, consider training them to go to their “place” near your workspace - a calming pet bed, blanket, or other cozy space, and then reward them for doing so.
How can I stop my dog from barking when I am on a video call?
Proper communication and positive reinforcement training make it possible to train your dog not to bark.
How can I get my pet to calm down when I need to focus on my work?
Spend time with, exercise, and feed your pet before sitting to work. Signal when it is time for them to settle down by giving them a small treat and a command to lie down or go to their place.