While your chatty co-workers certainly don’t make it easy to stay productive, neither does your dog pawing at your legs in the middle of a conference call. Working from home can bring about a unique set of problems for pet parents. But you can rest assured that it is possible to get all your work done—with a bonus of belly rubs.
Keep up your productivity, pet parents, with these working-from-home tips below.
Stick to a Schedule
You know how your kitty always seems to know when to start prowling around their bowl for dinner, or how your pup paws at the door when it’s time for their walk? Pets can keep to a schedule just like people, so it’s best to stick to set “office hours” during the days you’re working from home. Walk your dog in the morning to get some of their energy out, or schedule in some A.M. playtime with your cat. Then, get to work for a few hours, letting your pet know it’s quite time if they start whining for attention by ignoring the bad behavior and rewarding the good. Take a break for lunch and structured playtime before getting back to your Slack messages and spreadsheets.
Create a No-Pets-Allowed Office Space
If your pet is having trouble distinguishing between work and playtime (or perhaps you are), try setting up a home office space that your pet isn’t allowed to access. If you want to keep an eye on them throughout the day, set up shop in a separate room, leaving the door open and placing a pet gate, like the Regalo Easy Step Walk-Through Gate, in the doorway.
Take Advantage of Naptime
While your boss certainly won’t appreciate you indulging in a workday siesta, your four-legged co-workers should be encouraged to nap away. Adult cats, for instance, can “average around 13 to 16 hours of sleep a day,” Dr. Laci Schaible previously told Chewy. Take advantage of all that shut-eye by using that time to complete important assignments or make conference calls, so you’re free from distractions or background barks.
Unlike you, your pet won’t have endless emails to keep them busy throughout the workday, and bored pets can sometimes resort to destructive behaviors.
Watch out for the signs of boredom in dogs here, and boredom in cats here.
To prevent this, encourage independent play and keep them occupied with plenty of stimulating playthings. With engaging puzzle toys, like the Frisco Hide and Seek Plush Chewy Box Puzzle Dog Toy, or electronic chasers, such as SmartyKat Hot Pursuit Electronic Concealed Motion Cat Toy, your fur-baby will feel like they have their own job to do!
Plan for Some Distractions
Whether it’s the GIFs your work wife won’t stop sending you or your cat meowing for scratches, it’s normal to get distracted through the workday, so try not to get hard on yourself or your pet if you can’t always stick to your routine. Emergency potty breaks or urgent deadlines may arise. Try to take it all in stride, and then return to your schedule when you can. After all, both bosses and pets can appreciate flexibility.
While your health is a priority during the spread of COVID-19, you shouldn’t forget about how your pet’s health, too. Sudden changes in routine can cause your pet stress, which can lead to other issues, like an upset stomach or unwanted behaviors. Take a look at the below resources so you can help take care of your pet’s health during these times of uncertainty.