Working From Home With Pets

by Jessica Brita-Segyde

Working from home has become mainstream over the past year, and the reason is no surprise! According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, 20% of the American employed now work from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now for the second revelation: owning pets is also a common activity in the U.S, and one that existed long before COVID shook up the workforce. Does the work-from-home phenomenon compliment pet ownership? Can you take care of your four-legged fur baby and pursue a world-class career at the same time? Of course, you can! Read on to find out more about how a home office can make room for your livelihood as well as the joy in your life…and why combining the two can actually be beneficial to your health!

Give a Little, Take a Little

Dogs, cats, and other pets win our hearts and fill our homes with love. They also help to reduce their owners’ stress levels and improve cognitive functioning. According to the Veterinary Medical Center at The Ohio State University, pets can offer the double-benefit of reducing the heart rate and stimulating the brain functioning of the adults in their presence. This can be a much-needed form of “therapy” for stressed workers. The pandemic has much of the U.S. economy in flux and one of the biggest changes is that employees have retreated to home offices. Working from home has created a new set of stressors for America’s flexible workforce. Parents of younger children may have to educate and lead their little ones while still on the clock working for their boss.

Even in homes where dependent care is not happening, stress can still manifest. Spouses, family members, and roommates may have to share spaces all day long. This can be a difficult situation to navigate for those accustomed to working in an office setting. Pets to the rescue! According to an article published by WebMD, workers known to suffer hypertension experienced a reduction in their blood pressure readings after adopting a dog or cat. The article’s findings also suggest that patients with a history of heart attacks benefit from owning a pet.

When to Hire Help

Despite your pet’s best intentions. their schedule probably won’t match with yours. Dogs, especially, benefit from keeping to a proper routine. They need walks and bathroom breaks. They need attention and a bedtime. If you have a job that requires your presence at a computer, consider hiring a dog-walking service to help out once a day at a consistent time. If your schedule normally allows for dog walking, feeding, and other activities, great! However, your little buddy will still need attention when you’re called away. Remember to account for work trips and monthly meetings. If you know that you have a day of meetings coming up, even remote meetings, you may want to take your pooch to doggie daycare. Research area facilities in advance so you’ll know where you and your pet will feel comfortable. If you need to go out of town, plan ahead by reserving a spot at your local kennel or hiring a house/pet sitter.

If Your Work Situation Changes

If your office calls you back and working from home is no longer an option, the change could be stressful for your pet. Our furry, feathered, and scaly friends like having us around. Plus, once they’ve adjusted to a schedule it can be a challenge to re-adjust. Pay attention for signs of stress or anxiety in your pet. If you notice changes in eating, drinking, or bathroom habits, call your veterinarian for a consultation. A well-cared-for pet is a great companion in the home office.

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