Have you been working from home for a while now? Do you have a dog or cat who has gotten used to you working from home? And do you worry about how your pet might react when you return to the office? If so, you’re not alone. A lot of people have similar concerns.

My current office mate, Gizmo, is going to miss me when I’m gone.

But luckily, according to pet-behavior specialists, there are things you can do to make the transition easier for your furry sidekicks. Here’s how to prepare them for the change in routine:

  • Start going out – Get them used to you going out (and show them that you actually WILL return) by leaving the house during the day. Start with 15 minutes, and then leave for progressively longer periods of time. Your pet will start to feel more comfortable with the idea of you being gone.
  • Spend a little time apart – If you have pets who like to be near you at all times, try to get them comfortable with being separated from you by shutting your office door for a couple hours a day. It will teach your dog or cat that they’re OK on their own and will help them to become a little more independent.
  • Stick to a schedule – Start following the schedule that you’ll be on when you’re working in the office. Get up at the appropriate time in the morning, and feed, walk, and interact with your pet as you normally would before commuting to work. Get your dog or cat used to the routine, and stick with it. Animals feel very stressed when their routine is disrupted, so try to make them feel comfortable with the new schedule.
  • Try to make it fun – When you leave your pet, try to give them something fun to do while you’re gone. A puzzle toy or treat-dispensing toy can be a wonderful distraction.

Horovitz, B. (2021, March 22). The pets we’re leaving behind. The Wall Street Journal, R7.