Remote working has been on the rise for years as technology allows us to connect without ever leaving our homes, but now, many folks are quickly transitioning to working from home by necessity. Studies have shown that working around animals can lower stress levels and increase worker happiness. Simply spending some quality time with your pet can decrease loneliness, and increase physical activity, for both of you! Sharing office space and hours with your pets SOUNDS terrific in theory, but sometimes can create some unforeseen issues – many that have simple solutions.
Set a Schedule
Pets, like kids and (some!) people, thrive on routine. Long time work-from-home veterans will tell you, this is the number one way to ensure your productivity throughout the work day. Think about all of the things you and your pet need to do during the day. For a dog, it may include potty breaks every so often, meals, walks, play time. For you, it may be a regular 10 a.m. meeting, lunch, and answering emails. Set times for your pet’s necessary activities around your usual daily schedule, and stick to the routine. Everyone’s schedule will look different, but the very first thing on your plan for the work day should be to play with your pet to tire them out. Take them outside for a long walk, play a game of fetch in the backyard, or toss around a toy for your kitties. Well-exercised pets tend to be good pets.
Correct Needy Behavior through Positive Reinforcement
Some pets want all of our time and loving, and we want to give it to them, but we have other things we have to get done, too. If you have a needy pet, consider ignoring negative behavior such as whining or pawing you while you work, and rewarding them when they are displaying good behavior, like playing with a toy independently or laying quietly nearby. Offer a treat, a favorite toy, or give extra pets and affection when they are doing the right thing. This positive reinforcement should lead to your pet being more independent, which will help your productivity.
Keep Pets Occupied
To make it easier to stay on task when you really need to focus or take a meeting, distract your pet. Keep a box of toys up high and rotate them out so they always seem fresh and interesting (side note, this also works with babies and young kids!) Filling a hollow treat with something pet-friendly can create a fun pastime – we have great pet specific options, including therapeutic applesauces you can pop in the freezer, check them out! Treat puzzles, and other quiet toys, are winners when you need your fur baby to entertain themselves. If you have more than one pet, teaching them to play tug-of-war is rewarding, and fun to watch.
Create Some Occasional Distance
Sometimes it is easier if pets aren’t allowed in the office at certain times. Putting a pet bed right outside your workspace or using a pet gate is a great way to allow your pet to still see and smell you, without trampling your important papers or slobbering on your best virtual meeting blouse. Consider crate training for a dog who can’t seem to appreciate your need for occasional personal space while working. Some short periods of being apart could help ward off the development of separation anxiety, too.
Working from home can be great, and having your best friend by your side (when it’s agreeable to both of you!) can make it even better. Any questions, please contact us at 941.776.0770. We look forward to serving you in store, with curbside pickup, or local delivery (free on orders $49+).