Remote work is on the rise — especially as we take steps to stop the spread of COVID-19. And as more people transition to telecommuting jobs, many will find they have new, enthusiastic (and hairier) coworkers. #WillWorkForTreats
And that’s great because there are many perks of working alongside your pup.
Benefits of working from home with a dog
As we’ve learned from the pet-friendly office movement, working around dogs can lower your stress and increase happiness. And research shows that simply spending time with your dog helps lessen loneliness, which can often be a byproduct of the social isolation that naturally comes with remote jobs.
This may surprise you, but your dog benefits from your at-home working arrangement, too. For example, many pet parents leave their canines in crates while they’re at the office. Though this can be a smart way to ensure both for the safety of your dog and the survival of your furniture, it often results in a pup with pent-up energy when you get home.
But when you’re home all day, your fur baby gets more time with you. And that means extra playing, snuggling and begging for your attention (AKA, signs of puppy love). Which brings us to the one downside of working from home with a dog…
It can be distracting.
Fortunately, there’s a lot you can do to minimize the challenges and maximize the advantages.
5 tips for working from home with a dog
The following steps can help you make telecommuting a positive and productive experience for both you and your dog.
1. Start your day with an activity.
Beginning your workday with a walk or game of fetch can help tire your dog before you get down to business. And a tired dog tends to be a good dog.
As an added benefit, you’ll probably enjoy a little fresh air and physical movement in the morning, too.
2. Set (and keep) a schedule.
Want to know the secret of productive remote employees? It’s pretty simple: organization and discipline. In other words, creating a plan and sticking to it. This certainly applies when working from home with a dog.
Think about the attention your dog may need throughout the day (e.g., potty breaks, meals, walks, playtime), and schedule those activities accordingly. Then, importantly, don’t deviate from the schedule.
It’s incredibly easy to get off-track when you’re working from home. Succumbing to your pup’s cries or puppy dog eyes can quickly turn a promising morning into a wasted workday.
3. Take a few minutes to train.
For your dog, critical thinking can be just as exhausting as physical exercise. So, if you don’t have time to squeeze in a walk or game of fetch into your day, try taking five minutes to teach your pup a new trick or practice nose work. (If you don’t have even five minutes, treat puzzles and games can also be very mentally stimulating!)
Your dog will enjoy the extra attention, and you’ll likely appreciate their subdued behavior afterward.
4. Consider working from a dog-free zone.
The great thing about working from home with a dog is, well, the dog—right? So, this suggestion may seem unappealing. And ultimately, you should do what works for you.
That being said, whenever you’re working on something that requires deep focus, you may find a dedicated, dog-free space to be invaluable. (Spending some time away may also help prevent your dog from developing separation anxiety.)
Just remember, if your dog barks or whines while you’re apart, ignore them. Allowing your dog to join you simply to stop the bad behavior will only reinforce it.
5. Keep your dog occupied.
You might be slammed with to-dos and deadlines. But your pup doesn’t understand that. They’ll simply wonder why you aren’t giving as many belly rubs.
To make it easier for you to stay on task, distract your dog with treat puzzles or frozen, peanut butter-filled toys. These bribes are particularly useful when you have a conference call and can’t afford to be interrupted by barking or other needy behaviors.
Happy working from home!
Working from home can be great. And having your best friend at your side can make it even better. So, we hope these tips help you create a remote work routine and atmosphere that suits you and your pup.