4 Ways to Balance Working From Home With a Pet

November 6, 2020

By: Brandon Cohen


"It’s important to remember that working from home with a pet-while difficult-is not impossible! You can care for your little loved one while also crushing your assignments at work."

4 Ways to Balance Working From Home With a Pet

By: Brandon Cohen

Working from home with a pet can be exhausting. Any pet owner who has had an important Zoom meeting interrupted by the sounds of a dog barking or a cat scratching at the door knows exactly what we mean. Pets have minds of their own and are not confined to the same 9-5 schedule that we are. Now that your home and workplace are one and the same, pets are using this newfound time with their owners to enjoy the wonders of…distracting said owners. Many have found that their pets actually decrease the amount of stress they experience throughout the workday, but at the same time, a four-legged friend will always be keeping your attention divided. With that in mind, it’s important to remember that working from home with a pet-while difficult-is not impossible! You can care for your little loved one while also crushing your assignments at work. Here you can find four tips & tricks on how to master the work from home life when your pet has other plans.

Toys, Toys, Toys Galore

This suggestion may hit you in the wallet, but it will help you get your work done. Dogs love to be entertained, but you can’t always be the one in charge of keeping them occupied. While it may sound impossible, dogs can keep themselves busy with the right toys.

In their article “The Secret to Staying Sane While Working From Home With Pets,” Freeport Veterinary Hospital Writes:

“Look for toys that will make your dog work to remove a treat, or ones that will launch a ball for unending games of fetch. Just like kids, dogs get bored with the same old toys. Give your dog access to only a few at a time and swap them out regularly so that everything will be new again! plenty of toys, they can become tired of the same ones day in and day out.”

Meanwhile, cats may not require as much attention, but they, too, want to be occupied. Getting the right toys for your pets can keep their minds on something else while keeping your mind on your work.

Freeport Veterinary Hospital Elaborates:
“Toys that encourage play—like wand toys with a mouse or feathers at the end, and puzzle toys that require solving to receive a food reward—are great ways to engage the mind and use energy to ward off bad behavior.”

The key is to find the right toy for your pet. We’ve got you started with some options for cats and dogs here. If you have a pet other than a cat or dog or want more ideas to keep your pet occupied, talk to your vet and see if they have any recommendations of toys that will keep your pets busy and active!

In the end, if your pet is having fun, they won’t be stuck by your side, begging to play throughout the day.

Stick to YOUR Routine

The thing about pets is that besides being the cutest little creatures, they’re also little menaces when it comes to routines. If you plan out your day, it does not mean your pet will follow the same schedule. Pet owners are used to stopping what they’re doing to walk their pets or play with them. With a normal schedule, that’s fine. But when working from home, the interruptions come mid-workday. That doesn’t need to be the case.

There’s a reason pets often get trained a certain way. Whether it’s dogs learning how to sit on command or cats learning not to scratch the sofa, pets are forever learning new things.

Your routine doesn’t have to be any different.

There are some excellent tips across the internet on how to get your pet synced with your routine. After all, pets love routines too, and by getting them onto yours, you can know when it’s time to give them your attention and when it’s time to work. The uncertainty will be gone, and working from home with a pet will get that much easier.

There’s Always *Room* For Change

It’s tempting to have your cat on your lap or your dog perched up on the couch next to you while you work, but if that’s the case for the whole day, you’re going to end up distracted. It can be fun having a pet while working from home, but like everything else, there must be limits.

We’ve talked before about the importance of creating your own workspace while working from home, but that only becomes more important when working from home with a pet.

Having your own space where you can get some work done will provide you with a clear mind and a distraction-free zone. It will also provide your pet with an understanding (with some time and patience for them to learn this, of course) that this one room is not a room for them. Pick a room with the least amount for your pet to play with, then reward your pet with something else–a room for them!

While working, find a room that your pet especially loves, and fill it with some of their favorite stuff. The aforementioned toys, some treats, and whatever else gets your pet excited. They’ll have a room they always want to be in, you’ll have a room you can get your work done in, and when you are not too busy, you can delight your pet with some time for fun…or a long walk!

Trial, Error, and Collaboration

Consider talking to your colleagues and friends or join some breed-specific online communities about how they keep their pets busy and happy throughout the day. Once you start getting some awesome tips and tricks, start a Bublup folder with subfolders for toys, notes on what’s working, and links to resources for your pets.

In the end, just like you, every pet is unique. What may work wonders for one pet may do nothing for another. We’re all still getting adjusted to working from home, and we’re all still trying to keep our furry little friends happy.

You may not get your pet to respect your work schedule tomorrow or the next day, but soon enough, they will be following your routine and staying busy while you continue to crush your work assignments.

And hey, when the workday is done, they will be that much happier to play with you!


About the author

Brandon Cohen, an employee at Bublup, is a cat-dad, remote employee who knows just how challenging it is to work from home with a pet.