Skittles, my cat, is a cuddly bundle of joy and loves attention. The problem is that he loves attention even more when I’m working. I work from home, and his best attack strategy against the divided or negligible attention he gets during my working hours is his hot-seat: my laptop keyboard! If you have pets too, you know that the struggle is real. Pets can drive you crazy during your working hours but working from home with pets doesn’t have to be a hassle. There are many easy ways to overcome this challenge. In fact, you’ll be surprised to know that there are many benefits of working from home with pets.
Feeling Guilty About Getting Annoyed With Your Pet? You’re Not Alone
I’m too. We all are because we truly love our pets from the bottom of our hearts. We feel responsible for a life that depends on us. How can we be so annoyed to a point where we sometimes feel like pulling our hair out?
Let’s start with dismissing the unnecessary guilt.
The guilt is real, but the annoyance is real too, especially when your dog barks during meetings, or barks all day during office hours, or when your cats are being so demanding, or your pet being just extra clingy. But just because you’re annoyed doesn’t mean you hate your pet. Your pet isn’t the problem.
You work from home. Your workstation and your pet are in the same place. You can tell your family or friends to give you space when you’re working, but a pet doesn’t understand that. Once you shut the door to your room, the pet might feel left out and start meowing or barking or cooing (yes, I have friends who have pigeons and doves!)
It’s nobody’s fault, neither yours nor your pet’s. Get out of the guilt trip and find a solution that helps you and your pet.
Tips For Working From Home With Pets: The Solution
It doesn’t matter if your pet is a cat, a dog, a rooster, or an owl (I love owls!). There will be some level of trouble with every pet. These tips can help you and your pet have a happy day every day.
1. The Purrfect Solution
Think about a cat’s natural instincts. They are hunters, they’re curious, and they love to scratch. They’ve scratched out your curtains and toilet paper so many times. And after a vigorous routine of scratching and running around, they hit the snooze button and don’t wake up for hours. Does that give you an idea?
- Let them scratch and hunt
You don’t have to offer your curtains and toilet paper to your cat. Instead, get your cat some scratch posts. This will keep your cat away from destroying household items while you work.
You can also place different snacks around the house for your cat to ‘hunt’! This keeps your cat busy and active. Before you know it, your furry friend will have fallen asleep. It’s all about finding creative ways to feed your cat. Instead of just offering food, I’m a bowl, tossing the snacks far for them to fetch.
Put out the snacks an hour or so before your work time so that by the time you start with work, your cat is already in dreamland.
Pro Tip: Cats love boxes. If you have any boxes (even the cartons that carry items you ordered from Amazon), place them around the house, away from your room. Your cat will explore all of the boxes, sit in one and eventually fall asleep. I’ve tried this, and it works!
- Make them curious
Curiosity killed the cat, but this tip won’t. Cats love to observe new things and surroundings. They get so engrossed that they focus only on the new object of interest, forgetting everything else: most times, even you.
Your house is the same old. What’s the new environment that can excite your cat and keep them engaged for a long time? The outdoors. Get a window perch, a catio. or a cat tree so that your cat can sit high and observe the world outside your window.
Once your cat has gone on an imaginary adventure, it won’t even know you exist!
- Set a playtime routine
Toys that have feathers at the end and wands intrigue cats. They love to engage in such playtime activities. It’s best to play with your cat and spend time with them before your workday begins. Doing so will not only help them have the attention they need for the day but will also let them use up all their energy. The result? They’ll be fast asleep when your workday begins. Make this an everyday habit.
The love our dogs poured when we came back from work was everything we needed at the end of a tiring day. Now that most of us are working from home, we’re privileged to have our woofs with us all the time. Or is it? Not so much because dogs require a lot of attention too. They also get bored easily, and to keep themselves entertained, they bark and chew anything they find. Here’s how you can keep your pet dog constructively busy.
- Spend time with your dog
Unlike cats, dogs can’t amuse themselves. They aren’t aloof, and “me time” isn’t their thing. They need you because they’re social animals. Playing games with your dog before your workday begins is a great way to keep them physically, emotionally, and mentally fit throughout the day.
Games to play:
- Guess which hand (hide a treat in one hand)
- Hide and seek (hide treats around the house)
- Fetch (outdoors with a frisbee or ball)
These games will help you bond with your dog and will release their pent-up energy. Your dog will feel more fulfilled and will not indulge in destructive behaviour or barking during your working hours.
- Keep toys at home
Dogs get bored with the same toys. Keep a variety of toys and use them alternatively. When dogs feel like the toy is new, they’re more excited and happy. Use these toys to play with your dog before or after your work day ends. The dog will feel loved which will keep it away from noisy and needy behaviour through the day.
- The daily walk schedule
When taking your dog out for a walk, it’s best to keep fixed timings that don’t interfere with your work timings. Try changing the route every day to keep the environment new for your dog. They love sniffing new stuff and stay mentally fresh when they walk on new roads or in new gardens.
3. Chirp, Hoot, Screeeeech
You don’t want to hear that last one when you’re deeply involved in a work task. Don’t underestimate your birdie call. Their screeches can get deafening. All birds are different in their behaviour, but certain common habits exhibited by them can help when dealing with bird pets. Time to say goodbye to the screeches from your parrots and cuckoos.
- Bath time before your Zoom call
Most birds love to share screen space with you. They also like to mimic you or screech out a reply to what your teammates are saying on a Zoom call. Sounds cute but is disastrous for the pet owner.
If you don’t want this to happen, here’s a trick. Bath your bird right before your meeting time. Whether your pet enjoys a leisurely time in a bowl of water or likes to be sprayed, your work is done. Birds spend a lot of time sorting out their feathers and preening after a bath. It won’t even notice what you’re doing. Zoom, what zoom?
- Time for Zzzzzzz
This one is the same for all pets. Letting them use up their energy before your workday starts is a great way to get them to fall asleep. With birds, you can use a ladder or let them flap out their wings. Play with your bird a little but not to a point where your bird gets stressed out. The point is to put them to sleep so that you can have a noise-free work environment.
Benefits of Working From Home With Pets
If you have looked at just one side of the story, here’s another. Pets aren’t just an annoyance to your work-from-home schedule. Having a pet has many benefits that can enhance your productivity, prevent burnout, and keep your stress levels at bay. Here’s everything that our furry friends and feathered friends help us with. Let’s attribute our successful work-from-home careers to them too!
1. You’re Happier
You get to spend more quality time with your pets when you work from home. Instead of grumpily dumping food into a bowl or dish for your pet and rushing to the office, you now focus your energy and attention on everything you do. You have that extra time. Waking up to that cute furry face and having that time to spend instead of hurrying up keeps you calm and happy throughout the day.
Pets are known to greatly reduce stress and anxiety levels.
- According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, around 80 million U.S. households have a pet. Here are some pet stats.
- According to The Human Animal Bond Research Institute, pet ownership reduces anxiety, stress, and depression.
2. You’re Saving On Animal Care
You don’t need to drop your pets at a pet-care facility during the day anymore. You don’t even need a dog walker. You can groom your pet yourself too. You save all of that extra money that you spent on your pet while working in an office. This also helps you pay more attention to your pets and bond with them better.
3. You Can Take Pet-Breaks
Pets make great work-break companions. When you’re taking that ten-minute break to refresh your mind, you can play with your pet or feed them. This helps you spend quality time with your pet while you both feel loved and cared for. It’s a great emotional experience that can enhance your and your pet’s happiness levels.
4. Your Pets Are Happier
When you stay away from pets for long hours, they feel neglected and distant from you. Even though while working from home, you’re busy most of the time, your presence is felt, and your pet feels closer to you. This makes pets happier and they stay mentally, and emotionally healthy too.
Work Hard Pet Harder
While you work from home, you don’t have to look at your pet as a hindrance. In fact, with all the benefits that come with having a pet, you’re lucky to have one! You’re happier, less stressed, and have a loving break-companion. Moreover, you also have all the solutions if your pets get noisy or needy.
Bookmark this page to remind yourself of the value your pet brings to you and your work-life.
Pets are not just animals. They’re angels with fur!