If you suddenly find yourself shifting job duties from the office to home, you’ll be able to take advantage of the opportunity to hang out more with your furry friend. However, as with any relationship, spending more time together does present a unique set of challenges. Be prepared for life with your canine coworker by following these seven helpful guidelines.
Posted by Scott Tunstall
1. Keep A Normal Routine
Fido is accustomed to you waking up at the same time every morning and going through a pre-work routine. Try not to deviate from that plan too much. Sleeping in longer because you don’t have to pick out a stylish outfit or put on makeup may sound inviting, but it could be disruptive for your pup. Just like us, dogs are creatures of habit. If your four-legged friend is used to being fed breakfast and walked at a certain time, don’t make any drastic changes. This will help you maintain consistency throughout the days and weeks to come. Working from home will be an adjustment, but at least you don’t have to worry about your hound hogging all the coffee and donuts.
2. Exercise With Your Buddy
The ability to conduct business while wearing your favorite tattered t-shirt and baggy sweatpants adds a certain level of comfort. As long as you don’t get too comfortable. Don’t sit there like a sloth if you feel the walls closing in on you. Instead, schedule a couple of doggy breaks during the day. Grab Fido’s leash and take a short walk, toss the ball around in the backyard or engage in a fierce living room tug of war with a knotted rope toy. A little exercise does the body and mind good, especially when you have a furry workout buddy at your side.
3. Keep Your Pup Occupied
Having you home during the day will likely result in Fido seeking more head pats, belly rubs and treat handouts. A little extra attention is fine as long as you don’t go overboard. Remember, the situation is temporary, so spoiling your new deskmate now might cause separation issues when you return to your standard routine. If pooches become a bit clingy, stuff some tasty treats in a KONG classic chew toy and let them go to town, or give them a sturdy bone to gnaw on throughout the day. This should prevent them from constantly being up in your business. Literally.
4. Table for One, Please
Every office has that one annoying employee who loves to chat you up at lunch. Like Phil in Accounting who can’t help but regale you with tales of his “amazing” snuba adventure in the Caribbean, or Elaine in Sales who can’t resist sharing videos of her pet parrot Winston using profanity. Well, odds are your hungry hound will attempt to take their place at home while you try to enjoy a delicious turkey sandwich or steamy bowl of minestrone soup. Don’t give in to his begging. Instead, move him to another room or the backyard so you can dine in peace. Otherwise, you could be enabling bad habits that will be hard to break down the road.
5. Step Outside
Working from home can have the adverse effect of keeping you tied to your chair all day. However, it’s still a good idea to get a little fresh air each day and in turn leave Fido alone for stretches of time. Walk around the block a couple of times or take a short drive. This will acclimate your furry coworker to rolling solo and prevent him from becoming too reliant on you being around. Dogs can’t help but get extra attached, but reminding them you won’t be inside 24/7 will serve both you and them better once normalcy returns.
6. Don’t Play the Blame Game
Nothing beats good-natured workplace gags and ribbing as long as it remains civil. Fido slipping a whoopee cushion on your office chair before you sit down is hilarious. Reporting him to Canine Resources? Not so much. If you forget to send an important email or neglect to file a report on time, don’t resort to the ol’ “dog ate my homework” excuse. Own up to the mistake and do better. Your four-legged coworker is there to comfort you, not distract you from your duties. The situation is different, but it’s better than sharing a workspace with that guy with a thing on his face who smells like cheese. That guy is the worst.
7. Have Fun!
It might be a stressful time for everyone, but there’s no need to pile worry on Fido’s shoulders. Dogs can sense when you’re uneasy or not in the best of moods. Make the best of the situation by keeping your home office light and playful. Take the time to brush up on your pup’s obedience training by honing those “Sit” and “Stay” skills. Better yet, teach them a trick or two such as how to execute a proper high-five or, for the advanced student, pirouette on two legs. Reward them with a sweet treat and give them plenty of praise. Just keep the treat distribution in check to stave off cabin fever weight gain. Whatever you do, make certain the positive vibes are flowing.
Has Your Dog Become Your Coworker? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!
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