At first glance, this time I am sharing something not so related to coaching or human resources – work from home with pets. But are these really the topics that are so unrelated? Let’s continue and we will see.

It has already been almost two years since the majority of us have started working from home or at least combining work from home and from office. People with small children at home had their own difficulties (just remember the first viral video of a serious interview online and kids storming into the room while a woman was trying to handle them), at the same time people with pets at home had theirs. All the dogs were really excited to see their owners all the time at home, cats had no clue why on earth humans didn’t leave in the morning and were disturbing their beauty sleep.

As long as I remember myself, I’ve always been a cat person, well, to be more honest – animal person in general, I grew up with cats. For the last ten years I’ve wanted to have a cat, but never had all the right conditions to responsibly take care of one. Finally, my dream came true. Oh, the love and joy the precious furry little friend brings to the home is undescribable. But everyone who has ever had a pet knows that it comes with a price. A bit less sleep – check, some scratches on the furniture – check, testing strength of wires and cables with teeth – check, uncontrollable desire  to participate in video calls – CHECK.

For me personally it adds a bit of a charm, a topic for a small talk when you see in the background of a screen a little tail or ears or hear a little meow. I tend to inform at the beginning of every video call I have that my little dragon might wake up any time and come to say hello. Not once I received a negative reaction, it makes a connection warmer and more human, it provokes a smile. Except for the time when my computer was turned off during the call because something furry decided to run through the keyboard 🙂 What is the solution to these kinds of situations? My answer is simple – humour. If you don’t take it too seriously, the person across the screen won’t either. Of course, acknowledgement and apology are necessary as well. 

But what to do if you actually want to get work done and don’t be too disturbed by your furry friend. Here are a few tips from my experience (it is based on my experience with a cat, but might be applied for dogs and other animals as well):

  • happy pet – tired pet. Make sure that you have enough play time with your pet, especially before important calls when you need to be maximum focused;
  • cats are weirdly attracted to computers and love to sit on them (because it is a warm surface) – be sure to lock the keyboard when you leave your computer unattended;
  • for me one of the best solutions was to put a special cushion next to my computer – when playtime is over, my dragon takes quite long naps in it and I can work peacefully;
  • reserve time in your agenda during which you will give all of your attention to your pet.

If you feel that it’s getting too complicated – to manage work, life and your pet, to follow your agenda and actually get things done or you get too distracted and overwhelmed, don’t hesitate to look for support. A coaching session can actually be a good solution to rethink how to properly manage your day.

Why is this article related to HR? For all HR people – if you are having an interview with a candidate and suddenly a pet shows up, don’t judge, don’t generalise that the candidate didn’t prepare properly, contrary, you see someone who is actually responsible and caring. For all managers – your team member needs some additional time in the day to take care of a pet? Don’t ask to prove the necessity, simply allow it and show that you care. Pets bring a lot of happiness and that is all we want – employees to be happy.

With best wishes for growth,
Your thinking partner online, in France (Savoie), Switzerland (Geneva region)