Author: Marné Amoguis
Working from home isn’t a new concept, but it’s becoming increasingly popular now that employees and employers are seeing how beneficial it can be. Many people who work remotely are more productive and happier, which can translate to them being better at their jobs. In addition, employees who work from home typically feel less stressed because they have a better work/life balance.
Unfortunately, working from home comes with a new set of challenges, especially for pet parents. Being a pet parent is rewarding, but it does mean you’ll have a huge distraction when you’re trying to get work done. Your pets are part of your family, so of course, they want to spend time with you, even if it’s inconvenient for you.
Here’s how you can effectively work from home with pets.
1. Have a Pet-friendly Environment
Your pet is going to want to spend time with you no matter where you are in the house. While you can always shut the door when you’re trying to get work done, some animals, especially dogs, can get upset if they can’t get to you. In addition, many pets have separation anxiety even if you’re home but in a different room, especially after the pandemic when they spent all of their time with you.
There are a few ways to handle pet anxiety, including anti-anxiety medication, but you can also ease their anxiety by letting them spend time with you in your office. For example, create a cozy spot for your dog or cat that’s near you so they can nap without the need to be on your lap. You can also give them a food and water bowl so they don’t have to worry about leaving the room to have a snack.
Make sure your work environment is also safe for your pet. For example, remove any wires or computer equipment that can be dangerous. You might also consider storing any valuables in a storage unit to prevent your pet from damaging it.
2. Make a Schedule
Many pets thrive with a schedule. When you get into a routine with your dog, they’ll start following the routine every day. For example, when you begin walking your pet a certain day, if you try to push the walk back one day, they’ll come to you asking to go out. You can use this to your advantage by making a schedule for your pet that includes exercise and breakfast before you begin working.
By allowing your pet to have the necessary amount of time to do their business outside and burn some of their morning energy and have the opportunity to eat, they won’t have any reason to come begging.
When making a schedule, don’t forget playtime! If you’re able to take time off for work, spend at least a few minutes giving your pet the attention they crave. By adding playtime into the schedule, your pet will slowly start to learn when it’s appropriate to get riled up and when they should play alone or take a nap.
3. Exercise Your Pet
Depending on the breed of your dog, you may need to exercise your pet a little more when you’re working from home so they can burn some energy. Remember, when your pet sees you, they likely want to snuggle or play. You can help them calm down with some quality exercise. Some dogs require more exercise than others, so talk to your vet to determine how long your walks should be or how often you should walk your dog.
If you notice your dog has tons of energy even after a walk, it’s likely because the walk wasn’t long enough, so try to extend your walks every morning by five-minute intervals to find the perfect length of exercise.
4. Stimulate Their Minds
Exercise can help your pet burn energy, but pets get bored when they have nothing to do. Make sure your dog or cat has something that can stimulate their minds so they won’t get bored. For example, dogs who are bored may start to act up by chewing the furniture or pouncing all over you when you’re trying to get work done. So instead, give your dog a bone if he or she likes chewing on something. If not, spend some time at your local pet store to find a toy that will keep your pet occupied and busy.
5. Prep for Calls
If you know about an important call ahead of time, make sure you are prepared. You don’t want your pet barking, crying, or walking all over you while you’re trying to communicate with your boss or an important client. You can be prepared by giving your pet a toy to play with during calls so they won’t be tempted to start asking for attention.
If you have a dog, you should also consider walking your dog before your call. A morning walk will give your pet the opportunity to go potty beforehand, so they don’t ask you while you’re in the middle of something important.
6. Consider Daycare
If you have a dog with a lot of energy, then you might want to consider daycare. Doggy daycare gives your dog a safe space to socialize with other dogs, play, and get out all of their energy for the day. Remember, though, daycare isn’t for every dog. First, consider your dog’s temperament and whether or not they play well with others.
If you don’t think doggy daycare is a good option for your dog, consider asking a friend or family member to watch your dog during working hours. They don’t have to take care of your pet all eight hours of the day, but you can set up playdates during times you’ll be busy so your dog has something to do that’s mentally and physically stimulating.
7. Get a Dog Walker
Dog walkers can help you manage your time more effectively. Dogs need at least three potty breaks every day, but your pet might need more. If you notice your dog is asking to go outside around a certain time every day, consider hiring a dog walker for just one of your dog’s walks.
Enjoy Pet Time
Whether your pet is full of energy or naps all day, there are ways for you to enjoy working from home with your pet. Would you rather be at an office or snuggling your favorite family member all day long? Sometimes working from home with pets can be difficult, but it gives you some time to bond and can improve your relationship.
Marné Amoguis holds a B.A. in International Business from UC San Diego. She is a contributing writer at 365businesstips.com where she loves sharing her passion for digital marketing. Outside of writing, she loves traveling, playing music, and hiking.