After spending the last year working during a pandemic, many of us have now become accustomed to telecommuting. And while there are certain drawbacks about working from home, being able to have our cats and dogs at work every day can be a real perk.
Sharing our feline and canine companions with each other is even better. At this year’s virtual holiday party, we made it a point to introduce our beloved animals to other Semifyers -- and now, we want to introduce them to you!
Before we give you the run-down on our fur babies (and other assorted creatures), we wanted to talk about why dog friendly offices are so great and what you should know about having animals at work. Whether we’re working remotely or we’re together in our office space, having our best friends by our side makes everything that much better!
Why Allow Dogs at Work?
Dog friendly offices aren’t necessarily a new concept, but they’ve definitely caught on in recent years. It’s more than just a trend, though. There actually is scientific evidence to suggest that having animals at work can be highly beneficial for both pets and humans.
Having dogs at work can be especially helpful in reducing employee stress. Cats’ purrs have been shown to lower blood pressure, lower stress, and heal the body, but interacting with your dog can also lower the body’s levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and improve overall psychological well-being. Having a pet around can encourage you to take a break, blow off some steam, and enjoy a short-lived and playful distraction -- all of which can allow you to break the stress cycle and come back to your task feeling refreshed.
Many people also report that dog friendly offices encourage creativity, collaboration, and productivity. Being able to bring your pup to work with you can improve interactions with co-workers and can facilitate cultural improvements. Since pet friendly offices can translate to better employee engagement and morale, turnover and absenteeism may also be reduced.
While it’s not possible for every workplace to allow animals -- and there are certain risks that need to be mitigated -- it’s clear that this one adjustment can have profound effects on your staff. And for pets who enjoy interacting with new environments and new people, this type of enrichment can be an important part of their development. As long as there are no behavioral issues and employees are able to handle this additional responsibility, having dogs at work can be a great way to provide a better work-life balance for employees and show your commitment to developing a world-class culture.
How to Work Remotely With Dogs, Cats, and Other Critters
Whether you’ve recently made the decision to adopt a pet or you’ve had a canine companion for years, working remotely can be a challenge when you have animals at home. Although we already had a dog friendly office prior to the pandemic, we had only a few pets that would come to work regularly. After COVID-19 hit, our team went entirely remote -- which means many of us had to adjust to staying home full-time with our furry co-workers.
In many ways, this arrangement can be extremely enjoyable. You get to give your pet hours of snuggles while you tackle your daily tasks. You can also easily take breaks to walk them, feed them, or play with them throughout the day. And since working from home can sometimes get lonely, you can benefit from regular interaction with a creature who loves you unconditionally when you’re stressed or feeling isolated.
Of course, there can also be drawbacks. Our pups may bark during conference calls or our cats may sit on our keyboards when we’re under a time crunch. Animals at work don’t always follow the employee handbook, after all. It’s also easy to become a bit too distracted when our doggos have a desperate need for pets or when our cats insist on taking a nap on our laps. Their allure is hard to resist -- but we have a job to do!
So how can you become an expert at working at home alongside your pets? Here are just a few of our fur-vorite tips.
- Stick to a Routine: Dogs and cats like to keep a relatively consistent schedule, especially when it comes to feeding and playtime. When you find out what works for everyone, try to stick to that every day so your pet knows what to expect.
- Find Ways to Keep Them Busy: When pets get bored, they’re more likely to act out (which can distract you from your work and make conference calls more complicated!). Make sure that your pet has plenty to keep them occupied during the workday, like puzzle-style toys and treats.
- Don’t Give In to Attention-Seeking: As hard as it might be to ignore your pet’s pleas for attention, that will only reinforce this behavior. Of course, you shouldn’t dismiss any urgent needs -- but you’ll quickly learn how to tell the difference. If you refrain from acknowledging their cries for attention, you’ll teach them that only positive interactions will be rewarded.
- Set Aside Time For Play: Playtime is essential for enrichment and can be a good way to keep your pet calm while you’re working. Be sure to set aside some time each day for playtime together to keep your animal’s energy levels a bit more consistent and to keep them from feeling fidgety.
- Adjust Your Conference Call Setup: Some animals become distressed during phone or video calls, which could result in some embarrassing behavior. While many people are delighted by the sight of your pet on a conference call, you might want more privacy and fewer distractions. Try working in a separate room and closing the door, scheduling calls during your pet’s normal nap time, or wearing headphones to alleviate the sound of other voices.
Get to Know Our Purrfect Pets
Now that you know why we’re such proponents of having animals at work, we want to introduce you to some of our favorite cats, dogs, birds, bunnies, and other companions! Find out more about our pets (and their people) below.
Steel and Guinness
Sometimes known as Steel the Seal, one of the most recognizable pups of Semify loves swimming, hiking, and taking car rides with her human, Amanda. Steel will also devour just about any vegetable (she especially likes green beans). Steel and her cat sibling, Guinness, love napping together and turn into a giant black mound of fur whenever they snuggle.
Piper, Poppy, and Pumpkin
These three cute cats live in different households, but they’re bonded by their adorable names and irresistible faces. Piper is a part-time model and full-time snuggle monster. Her mom, Devin, says that she demands on-time feedings and has a snore that’s reminiscent of a small boat engine. Poppy, who lives with Melissa, is a little skittish but loves spinach and will call the authorities if she doesn’t receive prompt pets. And Pumpkin, sometimes called “Madame Loaf” or “Turkey” by Sammi, loves snacks, has a flair for the dramatic, and always looks just a little angry.
This one-legged pup has a name that comes from Shakespearian origins, but she’s truly a slobber goblin who just wants to love you. Speare’s person may be named Cat, but these two are clearly fur-ever friends.
Formally known as Samuel Caramel Smith, Breylin’s bunny will turn eight in April! He loves to eat carrots, frozen raspberries, and Cookie Crisp cereal and often sits just like Eeyore to show his general disapproval. Our only rabbit is definitely a hoppy boy!
Meira and Jaffa
Danielle’s cats couldn’t be more different, but they both bring a whole lot of joy. As the baby of the family, Jaffa is a daredevil who will climb just about anything. Meira, on the other hand, enjoys the quiet life and is too mature for Jaffa’s antics.
A wannabe lap dog, Bailey lives with Sarah and is prone to the zoomies. Bailey likes going to daycare but hates balloons, feathers, and the neighbor’s cat, Hank. While Bailey may be a drooler, snuggles are always on the agenda!
Noelle and Sarge
Total opposites in stature, Noelle and Sarge make a bit of an odd couple -- but they both get a lot of love from Allie, their human. Noelle acts more like a cat, according to Allie, and is playful yet grumpy. Sarge, on the other hand, is all doggo. When he isn’t bork-bork-borking at passersby, he loves to play frisbee and eat just about anything.
Brad’s Brood: Mr. Business, Hoagie, Peli, Mavis, and Edie
Brad’s animals have the run of the house. Mr. Business and Hoagie are a dynamic duo who come from the streets, while Peli is a private feline who’s a mystery to just about everyone. Mavis and Edie are two new additions to the household and bring out the best in each other.
Known as Erin’s “disaster roommate,” Spazz loves drinking out of her person’s cups and has dedicated herself to a life of crime. A messy-but-cuddly bean, Spazz loves to sleep in the dead center of the bed and insists on eating her own way.
Fraser’s pup bandit doesn’t understand property lines, but she makes up for her lack of boundaries with lots of snuggles. She may be a scaredy cat, but she exemplifies why dogs really are our best friends.
Chris’s Crew: Lola, Zander, and Harriet
Two dogs and a cat make for the perfect company. Lola, a sweet three-year-old pitbull, and Zander, a loving 12-year-old vizsla, are cute as can be together. Harriet, a two-year-old tuxedo cat, is patient with Chris’s kids in the house and impressively dextrous with her paws.
Roxy is an Australian shepherd who was rescued by Adam and his family. Although she was a bit timid at first, Roxy has made extraordinary progress and has become a loving and adventurous lady.
As Riley’s family’s dog, Charlie runs the household with aplomb. With a love for drama and an impressively floofy coat, this half-poodle may be a little snooty -- but he’s also full of love.
A perpetual grump, Bentley can usually be heard crying in the background of Andrea’s conference calls. But this picky eater has an especially stylish wardrobe -- and is a delightful sight to behold.
Sam’s Gang: Sir Remmington, Sweetie, and Tango
Sam’s assortment of furry and feathered friends is anything but boring! Sir Remmington, a bulldog with an irresistible underbite, loves wearing clothes and understands the English language. Sweetie jumps into legs head-first to show her affection and is inexplicably small. Tango, the cutest bird in creation, likes listening to Katy Perry and will give you compliments all day long.
Rufus (Jeff’s Very Real Dog)
Since 2015, Rufus has lived in Jeff’s home without incident. He doesn’t make messes, bark, or shed and is a great snuggler. That said, he doesn’t come when called or interact much with others.
We hope you enjoyed getting to know our pets as much as we loved sharing them with you! While having animals at work can be tricky at first, the rewards clearly outweigh the concerns. As we continue to work remotely and prepare to eventually return to the office, we can’t wait to meet all of our new furry friends in person very soon.