Besides your computer, what is the most important item on your desk or in your workspace? To me, it’s a cat bed – a three-sided wooden box with a cushion that can be attached to your desk or placed on it, to allow your cat or cats to sit next to you while you work.
Why do I like the cat bed so much? Part of it is comfort. When I work in my home office – where I spend a lot of my time – one or both of our cats are usually there too. Often one of them sits on my lap, but for that to work I have to sit half-legged in my office chair. It’s fine for a while, but eventually my leg starts to fall asleep. In the past, I picked up the cat, repositioned my legs and put the cat down, which was awkward and didn’t help much. Now I take the cat and put him in the cat bed, where he can watch me work and be petted when I’m not typing. They usually curl up happily and stay for hours. It gives me the advantage of having a pet nearby without having leg cramps.
This explains why the cat bed is so practical, but why is it so important for me to have cats in my office?
1. They are (mostly) a silent company.
Many of us struggle to provide ourselves with the ideal work from home job, and I’ve certainly worked hard on mine over the decades that I’ve worked from home. As a writer, one thing I need is lots of uninterrupted time and my husband knows not to knock on my door unless there’s an important reason. . It’s good for my productivity, but spending all those hours alone in my office can also make me feel lonely.
Pets are the perfect office companions for me because they neutralize that loneliness, but they don’t talk to me and don’t expect me to talk to them. My particular cats don’t even meow very often, and usually they just ask me to lift them into the cat bed. They provide companionship but no distractions. It’s a magic combination.
2. Pets can reduce your stress level.
Some studies have shown that interacting with a pet lowers blood pressure and cortisol levels, sometimes called the “stress hormone.” Other studies have been less conclusive. But there’s no doubt that many, many people find it calming to have pets, which is why they sometimes travel or hang out with emotional support animals.
Whether or not pets have any real medical effect, they certainly create a benefit by simply being there as a reminder to stop every once in a while and pet or play with the cat (or walk the dog, if c). is your pet of choice). Simply getting away from work every half hour or so to move around and interact with your pet will keep you healthier, as long periods of sitting are especially bad for your body. Mentally taking this very brief break will also help you be more productive.
3. They can help you identify yourself more easily.
According to the American Pet Products Association, 70% of American households have at least one pet. This means that every time you talk to a new employee, client, or colleague, the odds of them living with a pet are better than two to one.
This can be especially useful in this age of frequent meetings on Zoom or another video chat app. Many of us look at each other’s homes these days and try to make a personal connection to compensate for the physical distance between us. I think that’s why people so often react with a smile or a laugh when one of my cats sticks their head in the video image. I think that also explains why some people got really intrigued when I told them there was a cat bed just out of sight of the camera.
4. Interacting with your pet could make you happier.
Most pet owners believe that people who have pets are happier than those who don’t. I made that assumption myself, but turns out I was wrong. Overall, there’s no conclusive evidence that pets make you happier in general. But interacting with your pet is proven to make you happier while you’re doing it.
Which means having cats hanging around my office gives me a little bit of joy whenever I need it. I can stop, pet or play with one of them for a few minutes or even seconds, and get right back to what I’m working on.
I think that’s the most important benefit of all, because I believe anything that makes you happier to be in your office is a good thing, assuming it doesn’t interfere with your ability to do your job. I have a bean bag chair and a Bali flying parrot mobile in my office for the same reason.
There is a growing audience of Inc.com readers who receive a daily text from me with a micro-challenge or self-care or motivational tip. Often they text me back and we end up in a conversation. (Want to sign up? Here’s more information and an invitation to an extended free trial.) Many are entrepreneurs or business owners with busy careers and families. Yet they often tell me what important role their pet(s) plays in their lives. If you have a pet and you work from home, can your pet keep you company while you work? If not, maybe you should give it a try.