Coronavirus restrictions have led to millions setting up home offices

At Vets Now, we’ve always believed that people and pets are better together and our own staff dogs have been a welcome part of our support office team since our beginnings almost 20 years ago.

Now, as many of us adapt to home working, our four-legged colleagues are undoubtedly enjoying having us around the house 24 hours a day, seven days a week. But it’s worth bearing in mind this can present challenges.

Here are a few steps you can take to ensure that your home can successfully double up as a safe space for your pet and a productive workspace for you.

Image of a cat and a dog in a house for Vets Now article on working from home with pets

1. Stick to an outside time routine

Your dog is more likely to settle and let you get on with your work after they’ve had a sniff outside and been to the toilet. Plan when to let your dog out at times that fit around your working day. Letting your dog out in your garden or right outside your front door before you start work will help them relax and allow you to start your day. Decide on the best time of day for you and your dog to get out for exercise and stick to the same time as much as possible.

2. Stick to strict feeding times

Add feeding times to your strict daily routine and stick to the same time every day. Consider the best time to feed your pet based on when you take them to the toilet. Avoid giving your dog too many treats throughout the day as this could result in weight gain or cause an upset stomach or even pancreatitis, which requires emergency veterinary treatment.

3. Create a safe space in your “office”

Whether you have a designated home office or you have commandeered the kitchen table as your new work desk, your pet should have a comfortable space where they can be near you. Clear any mess and cables from an area of your workspace and place your pet’s bed or blankets in for them.

4. Keep the noise down

Some pets can become stressed as a result of loud office sounds. If your pet is sensitive to noise consider putting your phone on vibrate and lowering the volume of your computer so that the frequent pings don’t startle them.

Image of a cat and dog sleeping for Vets Now article on working from home with pets

5. Provide entertainment

Your pet is more likely to disturb you if they are bored so provide some mental stimulation to keep them occupied. Offer some safe games and puzzles to keep them entertained.

6. Don’t forget water

Both you and your pet should drink water regularly throughout your workday so make sure that your pet always has access to fresh water.

TIP: You could set reminders on your phone to check your dog’s water situation and drink a glass of water yourself.

7. Remember who’s boss

Your pet might be used to getting your full attention at home but that simply isn’t possible when you’re trying to work. Some pet will go to great lengths to get your attention (we’ve all seen pictures of cats sitting on their owner’s keyboard) but it’s important not to give in to their demands.

8. Don’t strive for perfection

Your pet is adapting to this new routine just like you and they will naturally be excited to have you at home all day. It’s unlikely that they will completely change their behaviour because you need to get work done. Despite your best efforts, there may be times when your dog needs an unplanned toilet break or your cat decides to leap onto your desk. Accept that things might happen from time to time and be prepared to be flexible. Your work life with your pet will be a lot more enjoyable if you have patience.

TIP: Learn how to quickly mute your microphone during video calls to avoid any pet noises causing distractions.