In the past few months, I bet you’ve seen a lot of pictures of pets sitting on laptops, keyboards, work desks and even joining work meetings. This might have made for a good laugh, but did you know that these little creatures serve a much bigger purpose than just entertainment?
For example, there’s evidence that spending time with a cat increases your production of serotonin, a chemical that boosts feelings of well-being, and your cortisol levels go down. That’s a fun way of boosting your mood and lowering your stress levels!
Although pets have now become commonplace in work settings, it wasn’t always so. We do have a lucky set of seasoned remote workers who’ve had the privilege of working with their pets for years now.
Take Florian, for instance. He took up remote working just so he could spend more time with his dog, Loki! And going by his words, the flexibility that he gained out of working remotely is amazing.
So this week, I want to take you through the experiences of these accomplished remote workers with their little companions. We also have a very exciting discussion on this topic going on here. Feel free to join and share your moments with your pets.
Florian Rüchel, Security Architect at Atlassian
Companion: Loki, Border Collie (dog)
My most hilarious experience would probably be the team presentation on empathy and collaboration I gave. By its very nature it is a risky subject and I wanted to highlight to the team how misunderstandings can be resolved and conflicts avoided or managed if you apply the principle of “assume good intent”. Couple that with a 50+ audience with some senior managers and you have quite a serious setting (by our standards, at least). All of this is obviously happening on Zoom.
Now imagine Loki, my hyperactive Border Collie, in the background chasing his tail and crying for attention and you have the perfect chaos. Not only was I having a hard time trying to focus (thank you noise-cancelling headphones!), my audience was also struggling to pay attention to this serious topic with all the shenanigans going on in the background…
In the end I managed to finish the presentation and everyone had a good laugh, but it was certainly one of the more taxing presentations I have given.
Read Florian’s full story here.
Candace Ramirez, Freelance content creator
Companion: Dolly, Golden Retriever (dog)
There are so many good things about remote work. I have no commute! I can use the time I would have spent on the bus doing something more productive like working out, taking a client call, or getting in some couch cuddles with my dog.
I’ve just never felt comfortable in an office setting. I need to be cozy and completely at ease in order to focus on work. I’m a night owl too, so I do most of my best work at home in the evenings with my dog curled up at my feet.
The best part is that my dog tends to join in on my video chats. I’ll be talking through a project, and Dolly will pop up on screen with a ball in her mouth. Luckily, people seem to enjoy it!
Read Candace’s full story here.
Siddhant Goel, Software Developer & Entrepreneur
When not working, I like spending time building side projects, working on a couple of open source packages I maintain, reading, and hiking with my wife and our dog.
For instance, I start my day early, and one of the first things I do is go for a morning run along with my dog. Spending 45 minutes early in the morning would have been tricky had I had a “normal” office to go to. But since there’s no commute involved, I can choose to spend that time on running instead.
Read Siddhant’s full story here.
Shane White, Entrepreneur, Built 3 companies
Companion: German Shepherd (dog)
You can’t beat the flexibility of remote working. This is by far the best aspect, if I want to take the day off and hang out with my dog at the dog park that is completely up to me! You just can’t do that with a normal job.
I’m very excited to take this leap. I’ve never done anything like this before. I also think my dog is looking forward to this adventure, as he loves being outside.
Read Shane’s full story here.
Alda Lima, Freelance Translator & Interpreter
Companions: 2 cats
So far, the only CAT Tools I regularly work with are my two real cats, who enjoy the laptop’s warmth and sit on the (non-QWERTY) keyboard from time to time.
I also love animals and the animal-rights cause. I have rescued a few 4-legged friends, and am involved in some volunteering work related to that.
Read Alda’s full story here.
Scott Dawson, Web Developer & Author
Companion: Phoebe, Rabbit
Cool fact: I have a rabbit in my office at home! Snowball sadly died after living a full and happy life, and now Phoebe is my office companion. If you’re into pets on Instagram, you can follow Phoebe here.
Read Scott’s full story here.
Jennifer Aldrich, Design Community Partnerships at InVision
Companions: 3 Bichon Frise pups
Good aspects of remote work are spending time working with the best housemates (my 3 Bichon Frise pups), saving a significant amount of money on gas and eating out, and not having to deal with a commute.
Read Jennifer’s full story here.
Chanell Alexander, Freelance Writer & Remote Work Evangelist
Ultimately, I ended up choosing to freelance over full-time remote work. I did this because I wanted a bit more flexibility in my schedule. If I needed to take off to go to the doctor, take my dog to the vet, or take a small vacation, I wanted the ability to do this without having to deal with allocating sick or vacation time.
Read Chanell’s full story here.
Jason Fleagle, Consultant, Entrepreneur, Writer, and Software Developer
Companion: Linux, Cat
My cat Linux really likes to come and sit on my lap while I work at my desk. So sometimes during video calls he will come and sit on my lap while I’m talking with someone else.
Read Jason’s full story here.
Emilie Schario, Remote Data Engineer
I spend my time outside of work with my nose buried in a book, doing CrossFit, or adventuring with my husband and dog.
Read Emilie’s full story here.
Here's what our users had to say:
Hrishikesh Pardeshi said "@karthik, @haripriya, @kirstenboic-427, @victoria-1, @jean-84, @alaina-113, @prakhar-7, @tafftalk Would love to see some of your moments with your little ones! Also eager to hear your experience with your cute co-workers :-)"
Hrishikesh Pardeshi said "Also adding in the users I mentioned in the post - @flozza, @candaceramirez-0, @shanewhite-12, @aldalima, @scottpdawson, @jennifer-aldrich @chanellalexander-9 & @jasonfleagle-20: We are missing your pictures 😕"
Karthik Sridharan said "Here’s my son, Rocket. Has a tickle spot on his neck too :P. Eyes that are deeper than an ocean :)"
Chanell Alexander said "Hey Hrishikesh, how do you add photos of your dogs? It’s probably right in front of me, but I am missing it."
Hrishikesh Pardeshi said "Sorry about this Chanell - the editor right now needs an external link to the image 😕I am already working on a better editor with image upload functionality. At the moment, you will have to upload the link to image like this ![<<description>>](<<Image URL>>) You can use https://imgur.com/upload to upload the image or drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will do it myself :-)"
Chanell Alexander said "No worries, I think I got it.Bacon chilling out and posing :-) My American Bullyhttps://imgur.com/a/859n3hQ.jpg"
Chanell Alexander said "No worries, I think I got it."
Alda Lima said "Thanks for the mention! I feel I should update my “cat tools” photo since that one is from a few years ago and she was so tiny! Plus, there is a cat that isn’t in it and she will get jealous if she finds out about this lol, I’ll try to find a more recent one and post :)"
Hrishikesh Pardeshi said "Wuhoo! He looks super happy :-)"
Matthew said "Me and Sam 😎"
Karthik Sridharan said "This made my day!"
Hrishikesh Pardeshi said "Sam is sooo loving the massage 😋"
Lucas Wagner said "Aw, this is so adorable. Sam seems to be on cloud nine 😆"
Matthew said "thank you - he loves it :)"
Matthew said "he does love a good a massage 😍😁"
Chanell Alexander said "Bacon chilling out and posing :-) My American Bully"
Karthik Sridharan said "Acing the pose <3"
Jennifer Aldrich said "Awww! Thank you so much for including my fur babies!! ❤️"
Haripriya said "Here’s my cutie, Aadhi who is 40 days old My breaks from work these days are so much fun because of the attention seeker who follows me everywhere I go XD"
Hrishikesh Pardeshi said "He’s super adorable 😍"
Alda Lima said "Love this thread and seeing all the wonderfully furry and loyal coworkers :)"
Scott Dawson said "Wow, what a fantastic roundup of the office pets we love! There’s going to be at least one pet-related question on Twitter’s #RemoteChat today, too, in just a half hour. I know, because I’m the host! ;) https://artofworkingremotely.com/remotechat"
Karthik Sridharan said "Oh yes, I checked it out Scott - it’s pretty cool! Congrats :)"
Kirsten Boic said "Lol we have a cat and 2 bunnies and they love having us at home with them all the time!!!! Our pets are our kids, we have 2 human kids and 3 animal kids. Between the lot, we have a perfect little zoo :D"
Hrishikesh Pardeshi said "😎... Between the lot, we have a perfect little zoo I am exhausted by just the thought of taking care of 5 kids while working from home 🤯- hats off to you 🙏 Plus, we also keen to see their pictures 😎"
Joel Bein said "Pets are great for at home work! I have a cat Miles - he's basically a ninja though - super high energy and typically outside. Looking to add a dog soon though. Need that extra serotonin and oxytocin. :)🐶🐱"
Hrishikesh Pardeshi said "Amazing! We need to see a photo of Miles 😃"
Lindsay King said "Someone tell my landlady to allow us to get a dog! Love this article."
Joel Bein said "My cat, Miles - super high energy and typically outside 😉"
Hrishikesh Pardeshi said "Woah! Miles looks alert and ready to get some work done 😉"