Improving Productivity: Work from Home with Dogs? Tips for Pet Parents

A company called Spot Pet Insurance asked me for tips on how to work from home more productively if you have pets, specifically dogs. Here is what I shared with them:

 

Daily pet duties include feeding and hydrating them, making sure they get enough exercise, and, of course, showering them with attention. If you don’t have systems in place when you’re working from home, your fur babies can easily take over your day and drive down productivity. To make sure your productivity levels stay at peak performance while remaining a loving pet parent, here are three tips:

 

Combine their belly rub breaks and exercise with your brain breaks, exercise and stress relief.

Aren’t dogs the best huggers and snugglers? Studies show that spending time with pets can lower your blood pressure. For me personally, a snuggle with either of my pups provides instant decompression, and they’re also both my walking partners. Combine exercise time with stress relief time. Take breaks with your pets at mid-morning, mid-day and mid-afternoon. When pets receive this type of attention throughout the day, they’ll tend to drop toys in your lap and stare at you with those seemingly pleading eyes less often.

 

Scale back interruptions.

Do your pets interrupt you for their bio breaks or bark right next to your desk to let you know that a delivery has arrived while you’re on a Zoom call? Get your dogs on a bio break schedule. Even when your meetings occur at differing times each day, you can let your dogs out within an hour of the same time. To prevent those bark-a-thons, if your workspace is a separate room, you can close the door for important meetings or when you’re expecting a delivery or for an hour at different times of the day for some uninterrupted work time. If you don’t have a separate office, allow your pet to curl up in in a luxury crate – your bathroom. With either scenario, make sure your fur baby has access to water and a bed or cushion.

 

Working from home with dogs

My niece (with her beloved dog) hard at work.

Re-evaluate your parental responsibilities.

Let’s get real for a moment, shall we? You are the parent in this relationship, which means you’re the one who enables unwanted behaviors or reinforces desired behaviors. I know this might not be an easy pill to swallow, but I learned this when I realized that I said, “They can’t help it; they’re dogs,” one too many times to excuse their interruptions. Early on during the COVID lockdown, I came to terms with the fact that I allowed the interruptions and distractions to occur. To correct this, my husband and I took a couple of lessons from a dog behaviorist to learn behavior modification techniques for them – and us. This has allowed our interactions with them to be of greater quality (instead of scolding or reacting with exasperation) and our productivity levels high.

 

 

For more information about time management (whether you work from home with dogs or not), check out The Inefficiency Assassin: Time Management Tactics for Working Smarter, Not Longer.

 

 

 

 

About Helene Segura, M.A. Ed., CPO®

As The Inefficiency Assassin™, Time Management Fixer Helene Segura empowers professionals on the go with the tools to slay lost time. Personal inefficiency at work leads to increased stress levels, lower morale, higher absenteeism, more turnover – and rising spending on employee health care and hiring. Why not improve productivity, decrease stress levels, and increase profits instead? The author of four books – two of which were Amazon best-sellers – Helene Segura has been the featured organization expert in more than 200 media interviews. She has coached hundreds of clients to productivity success and performance improvement by applying neuroscience and behavioral modification techniques to wipe out destructive, time-wasting habits. Helene turns time management on its head by sharing both client case studies and pop culture examples to teach her mind-bending framework for decreasing interruptions, distractions and procrastination so that companies can spend more time generating revenue.

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