Working from home means a whole new set of distractions, especially of the furry kind. Whilst pets can provide a great excuse for a much needed break during your working day at home, having your dog nudge at your arm or cat walk across your keyboard during a conference call may not be ideal. The good news is, we have a lot of experience working from home with our animals and have compiled a master list of tips.
How to work from home as a pet parent
Create a schedule
You know how pets always seem to know when it’s dinner time? That’s because dogs and cats can keep a schedule just like us. The best way to work with your pet’s natural schedule is to set yourself “office hours” whilst working from home. Take your dog for a morning walk before starting work, or after your cat’s breakfast give them some cuddles or some play time. Then let your pets know it’s quiet time, ignoring any bad behaviour and rewarding the good.
Make sure you always take a break for lunch and some play time with your pet to break up their day. This should be a routine play time each day. Here’s a few of our favourite toys you can use to play with you pet:
Keep your office space seperate from your pet’s space
Just as you distinguish between your actual office and your home, set up a dedicated work space away from the area that you usually have play time with your pet. This will help your pet distinguish a difference as well. If you have a particularly needy pet like some of us do, you can still create a space near you but seperate to your work space. Set them up with a bed and some of their things on the other side of the room. Again, if they come in to your space demanding attention, try and ignore the behaviour, and reward the good behaviour with healthy treats.
Utilise nap time
Unfortunately we aren’t talking about you. Luckily, our pets tend to sleep a lot more than us. Adult cats can average around 13 to 16 hours of sleep a day and 12 to 14 for dogs. Lucky them, right? This is the perfect time for you to complete your important assignments or conference calls. Make sure to provide a comfortable bed in their space so they can curl up on or in. We recommend the Yours Droolly Round Indoor Osteo Bed Blue or the Trixie Cuddly Cave for cats.
The last thing you want on your hands is a bored pet. If an animal doesn’t have stimulation it can cause destructive behaviour, which tends to equal mayhem (especially during video calls, check out a funny example here). Watch out for signs of boredom in dogs like barking, chewing and racing up and down the house. Cats might walk on your keyboard, scratch your chair or swat your belongings off of your desk.
To prevent these types of behaviours, encourage independent play to keep them occupied. Puzzle toys, lick mats and cat nip filled toys are great examples of perfect solutions. Here’s a list of our favourites:
Distractions will happen
Whether it’s the dog TikToks or memes your colleagues keep sending you, or your pet begging for attention - distractions are natural (and let’s be honest, they make the working day a little more fun). Try not to be hard on yourself, emergency toilet stops or much needed cuddles with your dog may arise. Just keep moving forward with your schedule when you can, after all both pets and co-workers can appreciate flexibility.