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Article

The Experience of Teleworking with Dogs and Cats in the United States during COVID-19

Department of Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation, Canisius College, Buffalo, NY 14208, USA
Academic Editor: Aubrey H. Fine
Animals 2021, 11(2), 268; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020268
Received: 4 December 2020 / Revised: 15 January 2021 / Accepted: 18 January 2021 / Published: 21 January 2021
During Spring 2020, the public health threat created by the novel coronavirus (SAR-CoV-2), commonly referenced as COVID-19, prompted employers across the United States to allow, encourage, or require their employees to work from home. This exploratory, survey-based study compared individuals’ perceptions of working from home and from their employer’s workplace, paying particular attention to how these experiences differed for individuals with and without dogs and/or cats. Participants reported they had more opportunities to socialize with other people and experienced less work-family conflict when they worked at the office. When working from home, participants indicated they spent more quality time with their pets and family members, and compared to those without dogs, dog owners were more likely to report socializing with others and getting a healthy amount of physical activity. Follow-up studies are needed to investigate whether these findings persist after the threat of COVID-19 abates and to see how characteristics of pet owners (e.g., personality, job type) and pets (e.g., species, age, behavior) impact any benefits or costs associated with being in the company of pets while teleworking.
In Spring of 2020, the novel coronavirus (SAR-CoV-2) prompted an unprecedented number of individuals across the United States to begin working from home. Prior research has identified both positive and negative impacts of teleworking on employee well-being, and this study built on that research to explore perceptions regarding how companion animals factor into the teleworking experience. Individuals who had experience working from home and from their employer’s office completed an online survey about those experiences. Participants reported spending more quality time with their companion animals and family members when they worked from home. Furthermore, when working from home, individuals with dogs were more likely than those without dogs to report they socialized with other people, got a healthy amount of physical activity, and took at least one 15-min walk during the workday. Some participants, particularly those in households containing both dogs and cats, indicated that their pets created distractions during the workday. Future studies can build on this research by investigating whether the findings persist once the novel coronavirus is no longer a threat, and by paying close attention to the characteristics of pets, owners, and household dynamics that may influence the effects of pet ownership on the teleworking experience. View Full-Text
Keywords: telework; COVID-19; human-animal interaction; pets; dogs; cats; well-being; work-life balance telework; COVID-19; human-animal interaction; pets; dogs; cats; well-being; work-life balance
MDPI and ACS Style

Hoffman, C.L. The Experience of Teleworking with Dogs and Cats in the United States during COVID-19. Animals 2021, 11, 268. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020268

AMA Style

Hoffman CL. The Experience of Teleworking with Dogs and Cats in the United States during COVID-19. Animals. 2021; 11(2):268. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020268

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hoffman, Christy L. 2021. "The Experience of Teleworking with Dogs and Cats in the United States during COVID-19" Animals 11, no. 2: 268. https://doi.org/10.3390/ani11020268

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