BYOD: Bring Your Own Dog…To Work!

Working from home has its perks: never having to deal with soul-crushing rush hour commutes, an entire fridge all to yourself with lunch options, honing your mad DJ skills with complete control of your office tunes, and of course, spending all day with your adorable fur children, your pets!

In honor of “National Mutt Day,” I’ve compiled a few pointers on how to best work at home when your dog is your officemate. Petiquette, if you will.

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1. Adapt to Your Dog’s Schedule: No, I don’t mean that you should schedule meetings around your animal’s play time. But if you happen to notice that your dog becomes restless and wants to play in the early afternoon, consider taking her on a walk during your lunch break or throwing the ball around. A little attention goes a long way if you’re looking to have a productive afternoon.

2. Beware of the Squeaky Toy: I had to learn this the hard way. As fun as they are for your pet, they are brutal for productivity. Rawhide bones are the way to go. Save the squeaks for post-work hours and weekends. Your colleagues on the other end of the video call will thank you.

3. Develop Lightening-Fast Mute Reflexes: There have been a few times where my dog decides, for no good reason, to bark his adorable little head off  at the dangerous intruders outside of my door (see: Girl Scouts selling cookies, UPS deliverymen, kids coming home from school). Because these situations are unavoidable and unpredictable, I like to keep myself on mute when I am not speaking during a meeting. If I don’t, my lightning-fast mute reflexes kick in and I have been known to mute myself in about .0837 seconds flat. I suggest you learn to do the same.

4. Don’t Underestimate the Value of Doggy Day Care: I hate to say this, but sometimes you just can’t afford the unpredictability of your dog when it comes to a critical meeting. If you have an important call with your supervisor or CEO (or in my case, a reporter or analyst), sometimes it calls for a staycation to Camp Bow Wow down the street.

5. Keep the Pup Off-Camera: My dog loves to be near me when I work (I mean, who can blame him? Work is a BLAST!), but it’s simply not professional to have him on camera when meeting with colleagues, customers or partners. I make sure to keep his bed off camera to maintain professionalism on my calls. Also, consider investing in a rug (or moving your office to a carpeted room) if you dog likes to walk in and out. The scratching sounds of your dog’s nails and hardwood floors can be amplified to the other call participants. Major distraction.

Do you WFH full-time with a pet? Any tips you have learned over the years? We’d love to hear them in the comment box below.

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