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Here’s why your pet is the best co-worker

Working from home was always perceived as a more ‘relaxed’ style of working; well it was until you started doing it. Suddenly a work-life balance is harder than ever before, office hours are not adhered to, and to top it all off, no one told you about your new, co-workers who enjoy interrupting your meetings.

Children around the world, including the four-legged variety, have become the stars of many online meetings as over-eager dogs have made their opinions heard during presentations and interested cats have found comfort on keyboards while discussing budgets. Your new co-worker is stealing the show.

“When working from home became a mandatory requirement for most of us, I don’t think we understood the impact it would have on our pets, and vice versa,” says Hill’s Pet Nutrition marketing manager Carla Bath. “Working with your pet is one of the most rewarding and comforting experiences, and in the long run can reduce stress and increase productivity.” Bath goes on to comment that we certainly didn’t consider the impact our pet’s presence would have on our virtual co-workers, and even the comic relief it can bring to our workdays.

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‘Co-Worker’ pet-related threads have taken over social media feeds with pictures of pets in their new capacity as co-workers, ensuing hilarious results. Users are captioning pictures of their pets with descriptions such as, ‘Temporary home office has been set up. Not bad, but my co-worker keeps walking all over my keyboard’ and ‘My co-worker just won our office’s ‘Employee of the Week’ award!’ Pets have taken over the (home) office, and Bath explains why this is a good thing:

  1. Working with a pet around can reduce stress. Studies have been conducted and published in The International Journal of Workplace Health Management proving that staff who spent their days with a pet had significantly lower stress levels than those who didn’t.
  2. Instead of a team building programme, get an office dog. An experiment led by Central Michigan University showed that businesses that allowed dogs at work, or who had an office dog, showed a more collaborative approach between co-workers. Colleagues were more willing to work with each other once they saw how their peers reacted to having a dog in their presence. Although working from home does not allow for co-worker interaction with your pet, their response during online meetings might make you more willing to work together.
  3. Increased productivity is another perk of having a pet around. A quick break in the sunshine to play or a cuddle and tickle, helps you get more work done. You will feel refreshed after spending that quality time with your new co-worker.
  4. If you are home alone during this lockdown, a pet makes it more bearable. Working with a pet around when you are used to working with a team, will help you deal with the lonely environment.

“Lockdown is not only an adjustment for us but our pets as well. Suddenly we are home more, and have ‘infiltrated’ their daytime domain,” says Bath. “Working with our pets is a positive change that the world has embraced. Our pets are our co-workers, teammates, tea buddies, sounding boards and cheerleaders in these uncertain times.”

You can now buy your pet’s Hill’s Science Plan food without having to leave the house; visit www.hillspet.co.za/shop-online for a list of online retailers

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