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Why Working From Home With Your Pet Actually Makes You More Productive

Why Working From Home With Your Pet Actually Makes You More Productive

We've been working at home for all of two days and so far: Twice as much tea has been consumed, we've forgotten what it feels like to not be in PJs and we're *very* much enjoying having our fur babies close by in these uncertain times.

While those who have ever worked from home will know there are many distractions that come with it (we're suddenly fixated with anything going on outside,) apparently, having your pet around isn't one of them.

In fact, we've found it's been good for productivity.

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Particularly for those of us working at home alone during the coronavirus outbreak. Going from a busy office setting to not uttering a single word for hours, the change can be quite daunting.

Right now, we're still getting used to making one cup of tea instead of several, having no-one to discuss our weekends with and eating lunch alone - without having discussed, evaluated and rated out of 10 our chosen Tesco salad.

An unnerving time, yes. But for those of us with pets - is it just us who have found their company both soothing and mood-boosting?

Wanting to understand how it all works, we enlisted the help of a couple of experts to explain how having our pets around can boost productivity (even when they're clambering over our keyboards and being *such* good doggos).

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Our pets are keeping us company this week (Credit: Unsplash)
Our pets are keeping us company this week (Credit: Unsplash)

Psychologist, Dr Glenn Mason (who FYI, has been working from home with his pup Bailey and has been kind enough to provide photo evidence - more on that below) explained to Tyla: "Social isolation creates feelings of loneliness, which can be damaging to our emotional and physical health.

"This is something we are more at risk of when working from home, due to a reduction in our social contact and interaction. Having a pet has the potential to reduce these feelings.

"We know from research that interacting with your dog can reduce levels of cortisol and produce more oxytocin, that makes us feel happier and relaxed.

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"Owning a dog helps us create structure and routine to our day as we attend to their needs, by feeding, playing and talking them for a walk.

"In turn, this also increases our own physical activity which has widely reported benefits. As a dog owner of an 11-year-old Cairn Terrier, Bailey, I do notice the benefits she has on my own wellbeing.

"Added to this, research around having pets in the workplace reported increased motivation and reduced stress. Taking this thinking into the arena of working from home I would suggest there would be similar benefits for employees."

Bailey has been keeping Glenn company while working at home (Credit: Dr Glenn Mason)
Bailey has been keeping Glenn company while working at home (Credit: Dr Glenn Mason)
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A 2012 study, published in the International Journal of Workplace Health Management, found employees who brought their dogs to work experienced lower stress levels throughout the day and reported higher levels of job satisfaction.

Over on Twitter, pet owners have been posting photos of their furry companions while working from home.

Posting a picture of his cat, one Twitter user kicked it off, writing: "If you're working from home today I expect you add a picture of your pet(s) to this thread. I'll start. This is Pancake."

Over 1,000 users have replied to the thread, posting images of their cats and pups - who look so pleased to have them home during the day.

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Glenn isn't the only expert to champion our fur babies as stand-in temporary colleagues. Lee Chambers, environmental psychologist, lifestyle coach and founder of Essentialise Workplace Wellbeing, explained walking our pets can "simulate a commute" which can help set a frame of mind for the working day.

"One of the understated benefits of having a dog is that by walking with it first thing before you start work, it can simulate a commute as you leave home, and return in a frame of mind ready for your workday," he told Tyla.

"Secondly, while it is important to connect deeply with work and schedule your day, having a pet to play with at lunchtime helps you disconnect, boost your creativity, and this makes it easier to reconnect with work in the afternoon and not feel isolated.

Walking your dog can help mimic a commute (Credit: Unsplash)
Walking your dog can help mimic a commute (Credit: Unsplash)

"Our pets are often very receptive to how we are feeling and can provide us with an outlet, that we can talk to without judgement. Pet ownership is proven to reduce anxiety and depression and this is important especially for home workers.

"Even watching the goldfish helps us connect with the present and fall into nature."

If anyone wants us to look after their pets (including goldfish) over the next few weeks - we would be more than happy to.

Featured Image Credit: Piqsels

Topics: Life News, coronavirus, Animals

Lucy Devine

Lucy is a journalist working for Tyla. After graduating with a master's degree in journalism, she has worked in both print and online and is particularly interested in fashion, food, health and women's issues. Northerner, coffee addict, says hun a lot. Get in touch at [email protected]

 

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