I recently saw a funny meme with two dogs that said, “Mom is getting on an important video call. Should we:
- Bark loudly at the squirrels in the backyard.
- Start wrestling.
- Squeak our toys incessantly.
- All of the above.”
Many of us working from home are doing so with pets. When hopping on a call or a video conference, your pets seem to come alive making it difficult to focus and often very loud in the background. Post-COVID, people on the other end are usually patient and laugh, but for the pet owner, it can be embarrassing and frustrating.
Why do your pets decide to become rambunctious during these important work moments? Quite simply, the energy in the room changes! Think about it. The room pre-meeting is usually calm and quiet with pets lying next to you. The noise of the phone is jarring and then you are talking. You may even pace while on the phone. You are active and now the room is active. Your pets are reacting to that changing energy.
Cats and dogs are also curious by nature, territorial, and want to participate or play with you. Video calls with multiple people means multiple voices. Your pets want to understand where the people are and why you are talking to THAT television. And let’s face it, cats like to be the star of the show, so it is not unusual for a cat to jump into your lap or up on the desk to get involved. Again, the energy changed, and your pets are reacting to it. Being territorial, playful, and curious creatures, they are making themselves known and getting involved in the action.
Thankfully, there are great articles out there from experts offering advice and solutions for pet owners. Links are included advocating everything from closing blinds to creating a pet specific space outside of your office location. One key theme throughout is the benefit of exercising your pet before the workday starts and taking exercise/play breaks during the day. That is mentally and physically beneficial for the pet owner as well.
It will likely be a bit of trial and error to find the right solution for your situation. The reality is even with this irritating habit, most of us would not trade working at home with our pets for anything.
- 7 Tips For Working At Home With Pets – Freshpet
- How to Work From Home With Pets – American Association of Business Networking (abnetworking.org)
- The Secret to Staying Sane While Working From Home With Pets (freeportvet.com)
- Working from Home with Pets – PetPlace
Amy Bauer, Co-Founder and Managing Principal