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In 2020 there was a mass shift where millions of people started working from home. Millions of dogs around the world could now spend all day with their humans! So much time to play and walk around – Oh, what a magical time.
But unfortunately humans still had to work …
Well if you didn’t know I have been working from home for five years now. Long before Covid-19 changed the work environment as we know it.
I also have two dogs (and a cat) who are at home with me during work and virtual meetings. I’ve certainly made a few mistakes adjusting to finding a healthy work / life balance for all of us, but I’ve also learned how to make it work.
That’s why I’ve teamed up with WHIMZEES® Natural Dental Chews to share with you all of the best ways to work at home with dogs. And let me tell you, giving them WHIMZEES® has been so helpful during work calls. (Pro tip: I keep a jar of WHIMZEES® handy!)
These dental chews last 3x longer than other guys, and I don’t have to feel guilty for giving them too many treats as these treats help maintain their oral health. A happy, healthy dog is one with healthy teeth.
So without further ado, here are 9 tips that have helped me stay sane and productive while working from home with pets.
9 tips for working from home with dogs
Tip 1: set (and maintain) a schedule for you and your dog
This advice starts first, because it is the most important advice for successful working from home… You must set a schedule! Working from home comes with great flexibility.
It can be tempting to sleep or jump straight out of bed at the desk, but this kind of instability will set you and your dog in trouble. If you create a morning schedule that prepares you for the most productive and efficient day, and this is the one you and your dog can follow, you will find working from home much easier.
Of course everyone is different, but I believe that what you do in the first two hours after waking up sets the tone for the rest of your day and helps you be as productive as possible. And so to help you plan a morning schedule that allows you to successfully work from home, here’s what Louie and I’s morning looks like:
- Hour 1: I wake up, I shower, I brush my teeth, I get dressed (no sweat pants here thank you very much!), Watch the news and put on makeup.
- Hour 2: After preparing myself, I feed the dogs, I make my coffee while they eat, then I leave them outside to hunt squirrels in our garden. During this period of “quiet” inside the house, I will plan the rest of my day, prepare for meetings with clients, and respond to all important messages.
Tip 2: do NOT give in to their demands
This brings me to my next tip for working from home with dogs: don’t give in to their demands! I used (and still think sometimes) my dogs only think I’m there to let them in and out of the house to hunt squirrels.
And believe me, when Louie gives me his puppy eyes, it’s so hard to say no. But if I gave in to their demands, I wouldn’t be able to do any work.
Tip 3: Create a clear separation between your workspace and your dog’s play area
I am fortunate that my house has two bedrooms and we were able to turn one of those bedrooms into an office. If the dogs are too needy or wild, it’s easy for me to close that door and pretend I’m in a quiet and peaceful place far, far away haha.
If you don’t have room for a home office, it’s still important that you can create some separation for you and your dog, especially those adorable young puppies. It also helps prevent your dog from developing separation anxiety.
I usually spend at least 1 to 2 hours in the office with my door closed, because my little Louie stays glued to my side when I work from home.
Tip 4: Schedule time for play and walks
That’s why there’s another planning tip on this list. For me and for many others who work from home, every day is different. It is almost impossible to follow a strict schedule every day while working from home.
That being said, you can always schedule breaks for you and your dog. It is not good for a human to sit at a desk for 8 hours straight, and it is not fair for your dogs or yourself not to enjoy the flexibility that comes with working from home. .
I like to plan a dog walk right before my daily 3:30 pm closing meeting with my team. It allows me to clear my head and body of any tension or stress of the day. While letting my dogs release some of their energy (which silences them when I meet!)
Tip 5: Keep Your Dog Busy During Calls and Meetings
Currently, I work from home, in an agency. Which means we have virtual calls and meetings all day. My previous job, which was when I started working from home, didn’t involve as many meetings. So figuring out how to make productive (not distracting) meetings take a long time.
There have been a few moments in the calls where my dogs made an appearance that still makes me cringe… I also know that sometimes I can be more distracted if they are locked out of my office. I couldn’t help but think, “Oh my God, I hope they don’t get into something wrong! So the solution? Keep them in the office, but out of camera view, and keep them distracted with a healthy chewy treat like WHIMZEES® Natural Dental Chews! Toys squeak too much and my dogs love to tear them up. Hello, I’m not trying to give myself more work during the day here!
Plus, with WHIMZEES® Natural Dental Chews, I can kill two birds with one stone! My dog is given a healthy chew treat that will last while I call, and I give her a treat that will clean her teeth and reduce tartar and plaque. This is what is called being hyper efficient!
Tip 6: Integrate your dog into your virtual work life
While dogs can be a distraction during meetings, they can also be a great way to brighten up your coworkers’ days. So definitely incorporate your fur babies into your virtual professional life.
In my business, we’ve created Slack emojis of all of our pets’ faces that we can use to react to messages. We also love to randomly share cute or funny photos of our dogs working from home alongside us!
Tip 7: Set up at least 1 day a week to work somewhere outside the home
No matter how busy or crazy the week has been, I like to take at least an afternoon to work outside the home. I work alone at home, just me, two dogs and a cat. After a few days I feel like I’m going crazy or needing some time with others, IRL
Maybe I’m a very restless person, I don’t know. I just know that looking forward to working outside the home, at least once a week, keeps me motivated and gives me a break from the dogs. Usually I will visit my favorite brewery with WiFi or schedule a coffee date with a friend. This afternoon outdoors also helps to ensure the dogs don’t develop any separation anxiety!
Tip 8: Take advantage of all the benefits of working from home
Working from home has many benefits and great flexibility, be sure to take advantage of it. Remember to take those sick days and be sure to set limits that prevent you from working longer than you would in the office. Your dog will love you for it!
Tip 9: End your day with a routine or habit
One of the biggest challenges in working effectively from home is going offline. But just like you start your day with a schedule or a habit, it’s also good to end your work day with one. If it was a quiet day with no meetings, or if Louie was in a rare calm mood, I’ll use that time to give him a treat to say, “Hey man, thanks for being awesome today. I was able to get everything I needed, and now it’s time to play!
Since Louie is still young, I know it is important to take care of his teeth that are always so clean and white. Did you know dental disease is the # 1 health problem for dogs ?! 80% of adult dogs suffer from dental disease, which could lead to other health problems in the future.
That’s why I like to give her WHIMZEES Natural Dental Chewing Gum. It normally goes through other chewy dental treats far too quickly. Which totally defeats the purpose! I’m like, “Did you even chew this guy ?!”
Not with WHIMZEES® however! WHIMZEES natural dental chewing gum last 3 times longer than other types. That means more cleaning time to reduce plaque and tartar so her breath stays fresh!
What tips do you have for successful working from home with dogs?
What do you think of these tips for working effectively from home with your dogs? Try a few of them and see how they go.
As things get back to normal, it seems a lot of businesses are choosing to stay virtual and remote. Hope these tips will help you and your dog successfully work from home while enjoying all the benefits of working remotely!
Of course, we all work differently, so if I missed any great tips, be sure to share them with me. And if you found this article useful, please forward it to a friend or colleague who you think could help you!