Working from home with pets around is one of the perks of logging in at your kitchen table, along with being dressed in head-to-toe fleece. For an increasing number of workers, the option and opportunity is there to spend at least a portion of the work getting stuff done in the comfort of their home.
On the other hand, if you’re new to working on a laptop at home, it can take time for you and your pets to adjust to one another. When cats are climbing on your shoulders, or your dog is constantly begging you to toss the tennis ball just one more time, working in the presence of pets can be more of a distraction than you need.
The following will delve into the upsides of working at home with pets, along with some tips to help all the beings in the home office
Why working with pets can be great
There’s a reason many of us say yes to working at home, and it’s because our best friends are there. Here are a couple of important ways cats and dogs in the home office can be advantageous to your career.
Pets can shape your routine
One thing people who are new to telecommuting need to get used to is finding the new normal. That is, they need to find their daily rhythm that helps them slip into the right mindset to start the work day. Since dogs and cats are creatures of habit, you can build your new WFH routine around your pets. They may also make you more productive. If a cat is curled up, snoozing on your lap, that will keep you in your chair, working a bit longer, right?
Now that you don’t have a morning commute, let pets be the transition to the start of your day. Instead of fighting traffic, you can play with your cat or leash up the dog for a brisk morning walk to the park and back.
Time with pets can also give us motivation to finish goals and tasks throughout the day. Tell yourself if you finish this presentation, then you can head outside for an early-afternoon game of fetch.
Pets reduce your stress
The presence of pets is also a natural stress reducer. When work gets aggravating and the deadlines get tight, just take 45 seconds or so and scratch behind the ears of your pet. It won’t solve the fact that you have to turn around a big project in a short time, but petting your dog lowers your blood pressure, slows your breathing and alleviates anxiety. When your brain gets the message that everything is OK, you can enter a state of mind that’s more conducive to finding solutions and being productive. The presence of pets can also make you feel less lonely, if you’re working solo in the home office.
How to make it easier to work from home with pets
Do your work at a specific table or desk, and your furry friend will eventually learn that it’s time to leave you alone, right? If not now, maybe someday? If your four-legged family members are accustomed to having the run of the house, telecommuting can be quite an adjustment. Some pets do have atrocious office manners. It’s hard to get anything done when the dog barks at a backyard squirrel during conference calls or the cat wants to nap on your warm laptop. Use this guide to help you troubleshoot some of the problems pet parents face when trying to get serious work done in the home.
A tired pet is a well-behaved pet
If you need some quiet and your pet is one to settle after a vigorous session of exercise and play, then you’ll want to work that into your midday break. Put on your tennis shoes and snap on the leash for a quick run. Or pull out the wand toy or laser pointer so kitty can chase and pounce. Keep a few extra puzzle treats at the ready. When you need to hop on a call, your dog will be occupied with extracting the delicious peanut butter from the crevices and reaching the reward inside.
Put an end to barking
When your dog is barking when you’re trying to work, quietly and quickly escort her to another room, perhaps one that houses her crate. However, training your dog to be quiet on command is a long-term solution to the barking noise. To get started, you’ll first have to train her to bark on command. And yes, that does seem counterintuitive. Here are the three steps.
- First, give the “speak” command. When the dog barks, offer a treat and when she stops to sniff it, praise her and let her have the biscuit.
- Once she’s pretty good at executing this command, then it’s time to train her to be quiet. When you tell her to speak and she starts barking, add the “quiet” command while sticking a treat in front of her nose. When the barking stops, give her the treat and plenty of praise for a job well done. More than likely, you’ll be doing this training in a quiet environment with no distractions (and not during your work hours).
- When your bark-and-quiet-on-command dog gets good at this, start deploying it in real-life situations where she wants to bark, such as when a neighbor is walking past the house or the doorbell rings.
Read our blog to learn more about why dogs bark and how to tame the noise.
Keep the peace during video calls
Most pets don’t bat an eye when a video call comes in. In other pets, it piques their curiosity, and the next thing you know, their furry mug is crashing your virtual meeting. Some office cultures will treat this as a welcome distraction from business, but you’ll want to avoid this in a more dressed up, formal situation. Before that important call takes place, keep your furry beings in another room unless you can trust them to carry on quietly.
Calming cats during the work day
Working from home can be a big adjustment for kitty. For one, he may be quite accustomed to having the place to himself so he can work in his five daily naps. If that’s the case, make sure kitty has a cozy and dark place to retreat to so he can have his quiet time.
Cats (along with dogs) can also associate your presence with having unfettered access and attention. Here’s how to help your cat adjust to your new work-from-home schedule.
- Provide plenty to do. If kitty is pestering you, he may be craving mental stimulation and physical activity. Keep a basket of toys on hand, tossing him one when he’s getting rambunctious. An exercise wheel for felines can also provide a physical outlet while you work. Then, read our blog on how to deal with your chatty cat’s excess meowing.
- Keep your reaction low-key. When kitty is making a nuisance of himself, make a point of not rewarding him with attention. In his mind, negative attention is better than no attention at all. Ignore him when you can. But if that’s not practical, simply pick him up and place him elsewhere. Eventually, the problematic behavior will fade out. But cats being cats, there’s no guarantee. Just keep your response to the bare minimum so you don’t end up reinforcing the behavior.
A rewarding end to the work day
Working at home with pets can help us forge deeper connections with our furry friends. To reward good behavior at the “office,” keep those NutriSource Soft and Tender handy. They come in three enticing flavors, chicken, lamb and salmon, all sourced from our trusted U.S. suppliers. This nutritious snack gives your pup all the rewards, but without the worry they’re getting too many extra calories. Find them at your locally owned, independent pet supply shop.