WE KNOW THAT WORKING FROM HOME WITH PETS HAS BECOME THE NORM.
And, even as more people head back into the office, many are offering at least a part-time flexible work structure. Awesome, right? If you have pets (or as we like to call them, co-woofers and supurrvisors), you know that it can sometimes be a struggle to work in the same space.
I work from home with three dogs and a cat, and some days it isn't easy. But it can be done! Here are some strategies for making telecommuting with pets work (no barking frenzies during conference calls, please).
Train a “Quiet” Cue
Your boss probably won’t appreciate a sudden barking frenzy in the middle of your weekly conference call. Start in on teaching a “quiet” cue to help get your pup to settle. Additionally, ensuring your pup has gotten plenty of exercise can help them stay calm throughout the day. Try opting for a morning walk or jog in replacement of your morning commute.
Create a Routine
If your pets have spent their life having free run of the house while you were at work with bursts of exercise and attention in the morning and evening, the work-at-home schedule might throw them for a loop. Creating a routine can help your pets know what to expect throughout the day. As everyone starts getting used to all-day togetherness, make incremental adjustments to create your ideal routine. Pets thrive on a schedule, so as soon as the day becomes predictable to them, any initial growing pains will fade away.
Consider Doggy Daycare or Walking Help
Depending on your workflow, doggy daycare might save the day. My older dogs are calm and quiet, but my little high-strung pit mix Cooper is, well, neither of those things. Every Monday I have a series of deadlines for several clients that usually involve phone calls, so every Monday, Cooper goes to doggy daycare. It ensures that I have the full day to focus, and it starts his week off on the right “paw” by letting him burn off a ton of energy.
Use your stretch breaks to take your pup around the block or to enjoy lunch out in the yard with your dog. Take five minutes to pick up your cat’s pouncer and let her chase it around your office (watch your coffee mug!) or fill a puzzle toy with treats. Little play breaks will make your workday even more enjoyable, and your pets will be thrilled for the extra time and attention.
Maggie is a writer and author, whose first book, Clicker Dog Training: The Better Path to a Well-Behaved Pup was published by Open Air Publishing. When she's not writing (or reading books about grammar), she teaches writing courses to college students and professionals who want to nail down the basics of communication. Outside of work, she hikes, throws dinner parties, plays with her three dogs and cat, and travels as much as possible.