How to Work from Home with Your Dog: 4 Tips for Remote Employees

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Working from home with a dog can be a great time for you and your four-legged friend.

Whether you have been working at home for your entire career, or are only recently joining the approximately eight million Americans that work completely from home,1 there are steps you can take to ensure you are productive, and don’t end up in the doghouse. Dog owners have a few extra considerations when figuring out their daily remote routines. For example, you will need to reduce distractions, including the cute dog staring at you while you work.  

You will also have to establish a routine that suits both your job responsibilities and your pet-owner responsibilities. With a bit of planning, you and your pet can both benefit from working (and some playing) from home.  

1. WALK, FEED, AND PLAY WITH YOUR DOG BEFORE HEADING ONLINE 

Before you start your workday at home, make sure you tend to your dog’s needs first. This means walking, feeding, watering, and giving some love and attention to your pet before you log-in to work. Basically, do all the necessary tasks you would normally do if you were to leave for work before you start your workday at home.  

Don’t be tempted to start your workday and then feed the dog. Instead, focus on meeting your dog’s needs first, and then you can focus on your job once you start work. By establishing a routine, your dog will be less likely to seek attention from you once you are on the clock, and you will be less tempted to find a warm belly to rub instead of tackling your next work project.  

2. CONSIDER SETTING UP A DEDICATED SPACE FOR YOUR DOG APART FROM YOUR HOME OFFICE 

If you have room in your home, consider setting up a separate work area for yourself that is off limits to your pup. While that may not be workable, depending on your dog’s habits, it would be one way to limit dog-related distractions. But separate spaces may be inconsistent with the benefits of working from home, which includes the luxury of being able to spend time in the same room with your pet.  

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If allowing your dog to stay in your office is important, make sure to ensure professional canine behavior in the office. Set up a nice doggy bed under your desk or nearby and make sure to puppy proof any power cables. Create a workspace that makes your dog feel comfortable and welcome, just like the rest of your home, and chances are, your dog will be happy to simply sleep while you work.  

3. TAKE REGULAR, CONSISTENT DOGGY BREAKS 

Working from home successfully requires a schedule and good time management to maintain productivity. Not only does your employer expect you to be at “work” on-time, but a consistent schedule will also ensure you are not spending more time “on the clock” than you would if you commuted to your workplace. After all, just because you are working at home doesn’t mean you are at work 24 hours a day.  

Luckily, at home, your work breaks can include spending quality time with your furry “co-worker,” and not just getting a snack from the office vending machine. During designated doggy breaks, go for a walk, play fetch or simply cuddle to temporarily escape from work or reduce stress. These breaks can be scheduled throughout the workday, just like a typical coffee break, and will certainly be much more fun than gossiping at the water cooler. If the weather isn’t cooperating, be sure to checkout these indoor dog exercises.

4. KEEP YOUR DOG OCCUPIED TO PREVENT BARKING DURING VIRTUAL MEETINGS 

Perhaps the biggest concern is that your dog will want to participate in a conference call by barking. While this is not ideal, don’t be stressed out if it happens because distractions (canine or otherwise) can occur in any workplace, and hopefully people will be understanding. Most importantly, don’t scold your dog because your dog may not know what is wrong. Instead, work on consistent training to help reduce the chance of your dog interrupting a conference call.  

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For example, you could take a doggy break just before the scheduled call or give your dog a chew toy or treat to keep occupied. Also, don’t indulge your dog with attention every time your dog seeks attention. Be patient, and work to find the best solution for you and your office-mate.   

5. DON’T FORGET TO ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF WORKING REMOTE WITH A DOG 

Working at home can be not only productive, but a real treat for you and your dog. Take the time to find the best strategies to ensure a happy balance between your work and your pet. Make sure your employer knows that you have a dog at home, since you want to make sure that working at home (with or without a dog) is a good fit.  

Once you get your pup fully integrated into your workday, there are some considerable benefits to having them around. Studies have shown that employees who work from home are actually more productive than employees that commute to the workplace.2 With a bit of effort, you and your furry office-mate can enjoy the benefits of working from home and find the perfect work-life balance. 

1 People Who Work from Home Earn More Than Those Who Commute – Here’s Why [online article], Retrieved on March 18, 2020, from https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/13/people-who-work-from-home-earn-more-than-those-who-commuteheres-why.html

2 Working from Home Increases Productivity [online article], Retrieved on March 18, 2020, from https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/15259-working-from-home-more-productive.html

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