From Co-Workers To Fur-Workers

From Co-Workers To Fur-Workers

Key Takeaways:

  • There are many benefits to working remotely.
  • Working in an environment where animals are present can positively impact your day.
  • Pets help to relieve stress and encourage healthy habits.
Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Pets

In today’s world, where working from home has become a new normal, many of us remote employees have experienced the shift from face time with co-workers to face time with fur-workers—otherwise known as our pets! While we may have to tolerate the occasional pause while the dog barks at the mailman, or a random Slack message saying “asdfghrkjflngdf” from the cat walking across a keyboard, pet owners working from home enjoy some unique benefits.

Many studies have shown that working from home for those who have pets generally increases productivity. It’s fairly common for any pet owner to worry, even if just a little bit, when leaving their pet home alone. I’ll be the first to admit that my mind used to wander, wondering what my dogs were up to at home when I was at the office. This—combined with the occasional checking of home security cameras—can contribute to pulling some focus away from work. Being able to easily monitor pets throughout the day can bring pet owners (especially the crazy worrywarts like me) a sense of peace, allowing them to give their work the full focus it deserves!

A second way remote workers benefit from being home with their pets is by being influenced to take breaks. Many psychologists speak about the positive impact that taking regular breaks can have not only on productivity, but also creativity!1 Stopping to take the dog out for a walk, or to pet the cat who has decided to make your laptop its new bed, encourages breaks one might not have taken otherwise! By allowing moments to recharge, employees can work consistently throughout the day and avoid burnout which can occur when working full days with no breaks.

Pets also have the ability to decrease our stress levels. Researchers have found that the stress hormone Cortisol levels can be lowered simply by petting a dog!2 On the flip side, human interaction with a dog can also increase oxytocin levels (the same hormone that bonds mothers to babies).

Increased physical activity is yet another benefit—anyone with a dog can probably relate to the chaos that occurs in my home when saying the “W” word. It blows my mind how four letters can transform two dogs from calm, quiet cuddle buddies to full-blown Tasmanian devils within 0.2 seconds! Their excitement is quite infectious and does actually get me excited about going for a walk too, which has a positive impact on us all. Having a dog that you need to walk daily (or in some cases, multiple times per day) is a great motivator to exercise more often. The benefits of regular exercise are endless: reduced stress levels, lowering blood pressure, improved digestion, a boosted immune system.. and the list goes on and on!

So while our furry family members might (definitely) drive us crazy at times, don’t forget to thank them for all of the ways they help us as we navigate the transition from fully in-person jobs to part/full time remote positions!

1 Psychology Today article

2 Hopkins Medicine article

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