Biscuit, our beagle/ basset, is the co-founder of Pets Lets. She spends most of the day looking at me, sleeping or wanting to go for a walk or have a treat. I have not seen her paws touch a keyboard.
Every dog and cat can react differently to you working from home. Some need more boundaries, if you work a lot from home. Without them they can become clingy, develop separation anxiety, especially if they are young.
The PDSA also offers some good tips, such as to avoid giving your pets snacks, mainly to ease your own guilt that you are having to work and ignoring them.
Here are some 5 top tips when working from home with your furry friends.
- Find a workspace away from your pet
It may be comforting to have your cat on your lap or dog by your feet whilst you’re working but doing so will only encourage your pet to ask for more attention. It’s a good idea to set up your home office in a separate room from your four-legged friend. This may require closing the door, so be prepared for a few whines and scratches at the door. If this isn’t possible, give them their own dedicated area of the room with a warm bed and all of their favourite things. A variety of toys will help to keep them distracted whilst you’re in conference calls.
- Put some time aside for playing with your pet
Whilst it’s important to create boundaries, this doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to interact with your furry friend throughout the work day. We all need to take regular breaks, especially when working from home, so use this time to spend some quality time with your pet. Aim to do so away from your workspace to reinforce the message that your home office is an attention-free zone.
- Don’t give in to your pet’s every demand
Let’s face it – no matter what measures you put in place, it’s likely that your four-legged friend will still want your attention. To them, you being at home = them time, not work time. It may be difficult, but it’s important to not give into their every demand. If they climb on your desk whilst you’re on a video call, move them to the floor. If they bring you a toy to play with, don’t engage with them. If they sit whining by the door, don’t call them over.
- Try to create an ‘anti-routine’ with your pet
Although it may sound counterintuitive, try not to establish a strict routine whilst you’re working from home with pets. As you may not be able to take a break at the same time every day, it’s a good idea to vary your pet’s meal times, as well as your dog’s daily walks. Creating this ‘anti-routine’ with your four-legged friend may help to prevent them from expecting attention when you’re unable to give it to them. There’s not a whole lot worse than avoiding those puppy dog eyes asking for their 10am walk whilst you’re in a meeting.
- And if else fails… tire your pet out with a long walk
When lunchtime rolls around, it’s a good idea to get some fresh air with your pet in tow. No matter what that means for you – a 45-minute dog walk around the local park or a stroll around your garden with your feline friend – getting their paws moving is sure to help them nod off for the rest of the afternoon.
Russell Hunt is Founder of Pets Lets, www.petslets.com, a 100% pet friendly London property portal with a relocation service and a hub of information about dogs in London. Pets Lets is a community where people with pets matter.