Congratulations! You've just started working from home, or you're a long-time remote worker who's just added a four-legged friend to the family — and that's cause for celebration.
Amid all the excitement, though, you're a bit nervous that working from home with a pet in tow might be difficult. You'll certainly have an adorable potential distraction, but these 10 tips will help make the situation ideal for both of you.
When you work from home with a dog by your side, you should start your day together with some exercise. A half-hour walk should do the trick and expend some of your pup's I-just-woke-up energy. As for you, you'll reap the benefits of early-morning exercise: those who do it report a drop in grogginess, as well as boosted productivity.
Many people who work at home have the right to set up their own schedules. And, for freelancers, workloads come in heavy one day and light the next. As such, it's hard to set up a stable routine.
Therefore, you shouldn't get your pet used to a rigid daily agenda if you can't stick with it. Always carve out time to walk, play with, feed and cuddle with your four-legged friend, but mix it up so that they, too, understand that working from home doesn't always mean working from 9-to-5.
Yes, this might be the toughest step of all, but it's one of the most crucial, as far as productivity goes. Your pet can be distracting, so make sure you can close off your workspace and focus when you need to. Then, when it's time for a conference call, open the door and let your cat sit in your lap. We won't tell.
To that end, you might want to make sure your pet stays quiet while you're on a business call. If you have a divider, but you should take extra steps to keep them occupied. Plenty of toys exist that will have your pet solving a puzzle before it dispenses a treat. That should keep them busy while you need them to keep mum.
You've shut the door, and now you hear your pup crying or your cat meowing outside of it. It can be so heartbreaking to hear, but you have to stay strong during your workday — otherwise, your pet will learn that, if they cry, they get to come in. Grab some noise-canceling headphones if you have trouble ignoring the whimpers.
Once again, we have to think about barking interrupting your workflow. This time, though, let's talk about the neighbors, delivery men, post office workers, etc., who make their way by your window every day. If this sends your pup into a barking fit, then you should take time to introduce your dog to these people — if they're willing to meet the pooch, of course.
With more familiarity, your dog might not get so excited every time they walk by. You can't account for everyone or everything, but accounting for a regular passerby is a good start.
This is as much a note for you as it is for your pet. Your lunch break can help you refresh, boost your memory, increase your creativity, refresh your energy... the list goes on. Therefore, if you take your free time outside with your pet, you'll both reap the benefits. While you'll return to your desk feeling ready to finish the day, your pet will once again be worn out from a burst of exercise. As they nap, you can power through your to-dos.
Older pets tend to snooze most of the day, but younger dogs and cats will look to you to entertain them. Rather than stepping into that role, supply them with the toys they need to keep themselves busy until you can break for a play session. Otherwise, they might resort to chewing, scratching or other boredom- and anxiety-based behaviors because you're not paying attention, and they have nothing else to do.
Whether you work from home or in an office, distractions will get the best of you. As such, some days you'll conquer your entire to-do list, and, on others, you'll feel completely distracted and unable to complete anything. This shouldn't make you feel guilty, nor does it have a reflection on your pet as a co-working buddy. Let yourself take a break, hang out with your four-legged friend, and see if you can get refreshed and restarted on your to-dos.
Not everyone gets to work from home, and not everyone has the joy of doing so with their pet by their side. It will take some getting used to, but you will find the balance of doing your job and caring for your dog or cat.
So, smile even on the tough days — you've got a lifestyle many people would love, at home or in the office, and you have an animal who loves being along for the ride.