6 Minute Read

The New Work Norm: Working Alongside Our Pets

There’s a topic that needs to be discussed that requires a unique perspective — an RBM brancher perspective, to be exact. An aspect of remote work that is rarely talked about is what it’s like to work from home with pets!

I work from home in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with two roommates, four cats, one lizard, and one fish. Yep, you read that correctly, we have SIX pets in our house, which makes me the perfect (and definitely a qualified) brancher to be writing this article.

Two years ago, I couldn’t tell you the first thing about working from home until my pets became my coworkers. COVID flipped-turned upside down our entire work culture norm from an office to our seemingly super-small-after-lockdown homes with our fur babies.

Ever wondered what’s behind those screens at @RedBranch? Meet some of the furry RBM branchers working hard to keep brancher productivity high: Click To Tweet

Snuggles & Breaks

Being with our pets during our 9-5 became a huge perk of working from home. Dog owners get more frequent breaks (aka doggy pee breaks), and cat owners get many more daily cuddles. Pet adoption rates have significantly increased since the start of COVID with roughly 23 million American households adopting a cat or dog. As one of the aforementioned households that adopted a cat during the pandemic (Cosmo was adopted in October 2020), my furry friends probably couldn’t imagine me leaving for 8+ hours every day for no apparent reason.

With more employees working from home, people have the time to care for a pet, whether they just adopted or already have pets. In pre-COVID days, leaving an animal at home for a whole workday usually required owners to hire a dog walker/caretaker or drop them off at doggy daycare. Working from home minimizes this issue, and it’s been very comforting being with them.

What’s more, our pets have benefited from it as well! Pets are happier when their owners are home instead of being alone for 8+ hours each workday. This has also altered future employee expectations from their employers. 52% of survey participants said that pet-friendly benefits were vital when considering a new employer. Additionally, 8 out of 10 survey respondents said working with a pet has been a positive experience.

“Please Excuse Me”

But, the reality is that working from home with pets isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. There is nothing quite like being interrupted in the middle of a Zoom meeting by the sound of cats fighting and screeching like dinosaurs! They always decide to have brawls at the worst times, and the cats at my house do not always get along. If all is peaceful, you can most likely find one cat digging in a plant and another cat meowing obnoxiously at the back door.

Being around your pets 24/7 sheds light on just how needy and annoying they can be. At least I can count on the lizard to be quiet, but don’t get me started on the crickets they eat. However, despite these little annoyances, nothing compares to being on a Zoom call where someone’s cat or dog has made a surprise appearance while everybody gushes over how cute they are.

The pandemic has changed the work norm; our coworkers are now our pets! Find out what this new work norm is like at @RedBranch: Click To Tweet

Regardless, pets have moments when they can’t help themselves but make work difficult. A typical issue is a furry cat jumping up on my desk and walking in front of the monitors or on the keyboard. 31% of survey respondents did say that working with pets was too distracting. Pets are VERY needy and don’t understand that we can’t cuddle or play with them despite being at home all day. Cats and dogs both have a lot of energy. Instead of letting them distract you, there are a handful of tips you can try to keep them entertained. Despite the sometimes annoying behaviors of my furry coworkers, the joy of their presence and cuddles outweighs everything else.

Are the days of working apart from our pets long gone? Or do we still have ways to go? Will people willingly head back into the office if that means they have to leave their furry friend behind?

These are excellent questions that won’t have an answer for a while. But as a remote company, all branchers work alongside their furry friends, and we still manage to be productive and complete our work promptly. If anything, our furry RBM branchers supplement our productivity and positivity. I don’t believe any of us could imagine working without them anymore!