Modern technology has made it possible for many of us to continue working or taking classes even though we need to respect the current stay-at-home ordinances. While it’s great that these technologies allow us to work while keeping our community safe, it also means we have a few new coworkers, some of whom are furry (and don’t understand office etiquette). Barking during conference calls or trotting across your keyboard during a chat can be distracting and frustrating. We have a few tips to keep the office from turning into “Wild Kingdom”.
The most important part of transitioning from working in a remote office to working at home is the establishment of a routine. This involves several factors:
- Create a work space. Even if it’s just a corner of your living room, create a space where the only thing you do is work. Not only will this help you to focus and concentrate when you are working, but your pets will learn that you are busy when you are in this space, and will eventually learn to leave you more or less alone when you are there.
- Stick to a schedule. Try to work at the same times every day, for about the same duration. If you have a dog, make time before work and during breaks to play or go for a walk. Maintaining this routine will help your pet to determine when you are “free” and when you are “available”.
- Don’t allow “negotiation”. If your pet whines and paws at you or tries to get your attention when you are working, consider a “time-out” in a crate or another room. Do not give in to the bad behavior – it will only encourage your pet to misbehave.
Part of your routine should include activities that will keep your pet busy and satisfied. Your dog will be more likely to leave you alone while you work if he has had a vigorous walk or play session before you start. Giving your pet something to do while you work is also helpful. Try using a Kong stuffed with treats to occupy your dog, or consider filling a “Smart Puzzle” with treats to keep him busy while you are on the phone.
Be aware that your dog or cat will become adjusted to your new routine, and that you will one day go back to work again. You can make that transition easier by creating some time every day when you are separated from your pet. Find a comfortable room or crate and fill it with your pet’s favorite things so that he can spend some time away from you every day. Not only will this help prevent separation anxiety when you go back to work, but it will also create a quiet time to schedule meetings and phone calls.
A little patience goes a long way, so set goals for each week that you and your pet can achieve. You may find that your best friend is your favorite coworker, too!