By Ainsley Lawrence
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, remote working has become the norm for thousands of people across the country. Even now that the pandemic’s effects are starting to slow, some employers are choosing to keep their employees remote.
There are many benefits to working from home, including a boost in productivity and flexibility. But, we’re willing to bet no one loves it more than your four-legged friends.
Having your pet by your side while you’re working all day can be a comfort to you both. But, if they’re constantly demanding your attention or distracting you, certain measures may need to be taken to get things done.
So, how can you stay productive and manage your time effectively when you’re working from home with pets? Let’s cover a few helpful tips.
1. A Tired Pet is a Good Pet – Get Some Exercise
Dogs need exercise the same way humans do. Depending on the breed, most dogs need anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours of physical activity each day. One of the best ways to help them burn off energy is to go for a long morning walk or head to the park to beat an afternoon slump.
When your dog is tuckered out, they’re more likely to rest and less likely to demand your attention. If you have a cat or another type of pet, giving them toys or something to occupy their mind while in the house is just as effective.
2. Change Your Office Space
Most animals love being outside. It’s another great way for them to burn some energy and explore. Being out in nature is great for your mental health, too. Some of the benefits you might experience from working outside include:
- Increased energy and engagement
- Lowered blood pressure
- Boosted immune system
- Reduced stress
- Elevated mood
A functional outdoor office should have physical barriers to keep you protected and a comfortable layout that will make it easy to stay on track and not get distracted. As long as you can see your pet from your office, you both will enjoy spending hours out there.
3. Take Precautions When Leaving Them
Working from home means you’re going to be there more than you were before. As your pet becomes used to that, they might have a harder time when you leave to run errands or just to get out of the house for a while.
Some pets might even struggle with separation anxiety – something that affects 20-40% of dogs.
If you do have to leave and your pet isn’t taking it well, there are a few things you can do to help the process:
- Desensitize them to when you’re leaving by not making a big deal out of it.
- Don’t greet them right away when you get home. Wait until they calm down.
- Save their favorite treats, toys, and distractions for when you leave so they will stay occupied.
- Exercise them before you leave.
Some cases of separation anxiety can become quite severe. So, if you start to notice signs of it in your dog (or cat), make sure to take action right away, and pet-proof your home in the process.
4. Keep Them Close
Many times, your pet might be “bothering” you simply because they want to be close to you. If your home office is in an enclosed space and you often have the door closed, you might struggle with hearing your dog or cat pawing at it, trying to get in.
That’s a little distracting during Zoom meetings.
Consider putting a pet bed by your feet, wherever you’re working. Chances are, your pet will be more content and quieter just laying by you than being in a completely separate room. Plus, their presence next to you can reduce your stress levels and make you feel calmer while you work.
5. Keep Them Busy
Your pet might be difficult to manage when they’re bored. In many ways, they’re just like little kids. But, if you’ve already taken your dog for a long walk or you’ve given your cat a toy, what else can you do?
Consider setting up a game for them, especially if they’re food-motivated. For dogs, an easy way to keep them occupied is with a game of hide and seek using treats. Start with a simple approach by hiding their favorite treats in their toys or in obvious places around the house.
Then, you can hide them in a bit “trickier” places, letting your canine’s sense of smell guide them through the game to get their rewards.
Swapping out toys throughout the day is another great way to keep your pet busy. Only give them a few of their favorites at a time, and change them periodically to keep them from getting bored. Again, toys that allow you to hide treats inside can be extra effective in keeping them occupied for long periods of time.
Working from home with your pet doesn’t have to be difficult. Keep these tips in mind to stay productive and to make sure your pet allows you to get your work done.
Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer that lives in the Northwest region of the United States. She has a particular interest in covering topics related to good health, balanced life, and better living through technology. When not writing, her free time is spent reading and researching to learn more about her cultural and environmental surroundings. You can follow her on Twitter @AinsleyLawrenc3