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
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.