Whoof! Paws at work

Whoof! Paws at work

(Left) Bono, the Chief Cuddling Officer, at Curley Street Media; (right) Adam from Graffiti Collaborative

Bono, the Golden Labrador, is the Chief Cuddling Officer (CCO) at Curley Street Media. A role that he as well his co-workers take seriously. 

When Curley Street Media, a creative film production house in Bengaluru, opened in 2012, the office space was chosen in such a way that Bono had a backyard for himself. 

"Bono is actually our founder Pavithra Chellam's baby, but is an integral part of our team now," informs Ananya Roy from Curley Street Media. 

"Recently, we also adopted Bumpy from the street. Both of them are with us through the day and till late at night. They are an essential part of our daily fabric," she says.

The prospect of having furry friends at workstations is no more a far-fetched dream. An increasing number of startups and small companies in Bengaluru have embraced the idea. 

Studies have shown that having pets at workplace can help break ice and reduce stress considerably and these companies vouch for it.  

Pet owners too are happy in the knowledge that they do not need to rush home to take care of their pets' needs.

"Bono and Bumpy have a positive influence on us in terms of morale, energy and team spirit. It's amazing how they liven up the place,' says Ananya. "They are there with us for long hours, during our hectic times and giving the unconditional love only pets can give," she says.

However, having pets at one's workplace also comes with responsibilities and one has to make sure that every employee is comfortable with the pets.

"You have to take ownership the way you take ownership of your pets at home -- take care of their routine and food, take them for walks and make sure they are comfortable," explains Ananya.   

"You should make sure that the other workers are also comfortable having pets around, especially those with allergies. Fortunately, we are all dog lovers and we are not a huge corporate organisation with 2,000 employees. It's totally worth it to have them at our workplace. They make a whole world of difference," adds Ananya.

At any point of time, Graffiti Collaborative, a creative agency based in Bengaluru,  has four dogs --  Zoe, Skyye, Eva and Roxy and cats Adam and Ginger -- in their office. 

"When we started Graffiti Collaborative seven years ago, we wanted both animals and plants to be a part of our office. Earlier, the landlord had issues with us having pets around. We also had to go the extra mile with the cleaning etc. When the landlord understood how we were going about it, he was fine with it," says Shinoy Thomas, CEO of  Graffiti Collaborative, a creative agency in Bengaluru.

"During the hiring process, our pets were of great help. If they didn't approve of a certain candidate, they would go on barking and we would know something is wrong,'' says Shinoy.  

"Pets are such good conversation starters. They do not know whether you are stressed out or sad, they just come to you asking you to throw the ball at them or play with them. They are a source of motivation." "If we are having a meeting in the conference room, they would be in a corner of the room, and if we start raising our voice, they would bark signalling us to lower our voice. We really think they are part of our education,'' he says.

But it is also essential to make sure that the pets at workplace are tended well. 

"We have a dedicated person taking care of them. In summer, they need to be taken care of differently and in winter, in a different way," he says adding, "They are always part of our trips. Recently, we did an anniversary trip together." 

With 'pet-friendly jobs' on the rise, animal lovers, especially, millennials, couldn't be happier. Having furry friends around is by all accounts the best non-financial perk.