In these strange times, it’s no surprise that many of us are feeling more stressed than ever. Our separation from friends and family, feelings of uncertainty, and the new challenges posed by the unfamiliarity of working from home can all combine to make an already stressful situation even harder to deal with.
For those of us who are lucky enough to have a pet (especially a cat or a dog), we already know that they can help reduce our levels of stress and anxiety, and are a great source of companionship and comfort.
But, with 83% of us saying that owning a pet helps to relieve our workplace pressures, it now seems that having a furry office buddy could make all the difference to our emotional wellbeing on the job, as well as helping us feel happier and more productive whilst working from home.
Aside from all the great benefits being with your pets can bring, simply having more time for pet grooming and being around to provide your own pet care can remove some of the stress that leaving your pet alone during the working day can cause.
However, despite all this, we’d never suggest that working from home with your pets doesn’t come without its ups and downs.
With their best friends now at their constant beck-and-call when it comes to cuddles, walks, and playtime, there’s no doubt that even the most laid-back pet can become more demanding whilst you’re working from home. But, with a bit of prep and a little imagination, there’s no reason why you can’t find ways to work from home that will work just as well for your furry friend as it will for you.
Take a look at some of our top tips to help make working from home with pets as purr-fect (oh dear!) as it should be.
1) Create a Safe Space
It goes without saying that the last few months have been stressful for all of us - pets included. With more of us now working and learning at home, old routines have been disrupted and this can leave pets feeling anxious and overwhelmed.
Making a safe space that your pet can retreat to when things become too much can be a great way for all of you to get some much-needed peace and quiet. For example, you could re-visit crate training for your dog, or set up a cosy nest for your cat in a quiet corner of the house.
If your pets like to stay close, you could think about setting up a calming bed for your dog in the corner of your office; whilst something like a heated cat bed placed near your desk can be a great way of keeping a needy kitty off your keyboard.
2) A Tired Pet is a Good Pet
Especially if you have a dog, ditching the commute will give you plenty of time for getting out in the fresh air together, whether that’s before, after, or even during the working day. In fact, having an excuse to step away from the screen for a little bit can be one of the great benefits of working from home with a pet.
But, whilst exercising your dog regularly (or ensuring your cat has easy access to the great outdoors whenever they feel the need to explore) will go a long way to encouraging a sleepy pet, there are other tricks you can keep up your sleeve to help encourage your furry friend to take those longs naps that both of you love.
Giving your pet plenty of mental exercise is a tried-and-tested way to tire them out.
For dogs, challenging them to use their nose in scent games like ‘find the food’, ‘which hand’, or ‘hide and seek’ will tire them out and make your bond even stronger. Practising training drills on your walks will also make those laps of the park even more energy-sapping.
Playing games of chase with a feather wand is a fun way to engage with your feline friends and get them worn out before you start your working day. You could also try setting up a high vantage point for them on a shelf, or sometimes even just moving a favourite chair near to the window is enough to keep them occupied for a while.
3) Get The Toys Out
Destructive and disruptive behaviours like chewing, barking and scratching can often be caused or exacerbated by boredom.
Setting your pet up with some of their favourite toys can help to keep them out of your hair whilst you get some work done; letting you concentrate on what you’re doing rather than worrying about what they’re destroying whilst they’re being too quiet.
Boredom-busting toys for dogs such as lick mats, stuffed Kongs, wobble toys, and bones are good options for stopping your dog seeking out every unsuspecting sock in the house.
For cats you could try fun toys like treat puzzles, tunnels, and catnip toys; or even set up games for them such as cardboard boxes with bits of tissue paper and treats hidden inside.
Going Back to Work?
With lockdown measures being slowly relaxed across the country, some of us may be heading back to the office to work.
If this is the case for you, it’s really important to manage your transition carefully to help your pet adjust and to ease your pet’s separation anxiety.
Things like asking your pet to settle down at the time you would normally leave for work, and getting them accustomed to spending some time alone again before you go back to work can really help.
Parcel2Go has a range of topics and posts to help you work at home during this uncertain time, so if you’re looking for more ideas on how to make the most of working at home, check out our blog on 15 activities to keep you occupied during your downtime.