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Updated: January 10, 2022 / Best of Business 2022

Best of Business 2022: Best Pandemic Coworkers

(From left) Kylo, Spiros Kaperonis, Lindsay Gagnon, and Penelope

Rather than a return to the office and pre-coronavirus normalcy in 2021, companies and workers across Central Massachusetts got more of the same from the first year of the pandemic, and 2022 is shaping up to start off much the same way.

The bright side for those workers who have been relegated to remote offices and work-from-home hybrid models is more time spent with families and pets who typically only get moments together after hours. For the second year in a row, WBJ honors these pandemic coworkers who have made a volatile situation a little bit more enjoyable, while bringing smiles to our faces.

Best Pair of Pooches

Kylo and Penelope

Lindsay Gagnon has experienced some unique workplace changes since the coronavirus pandemic gave her the opportunity to work from home.  

As an account and provider configuration analyst for Worcester insurer Fallon Health, Gagnon quickly realized her new at-home coworkers were very lazy and always trying to hog the screen during Zoom meetings. While they may not be the most productive members of her team, Gagnon’s two English labradors, Kylo and Penelope, are certainly the cutest!

Kylo is a 2-year-old, charcoal black lab whose mischievous nature matches the Star Wars-inspired name Gagnon’s boyfriend, Spiros Kaperonis, bestowed upon him.

Described as a mama’s boy, Kylo is known to steal towels from the kitchen and try to squeeze his 110-pound body under Gagnon’s chair if she does not give him enough attention.

“He is a bull in a china closet,” Gagnon said about Kylo.

Penelope is younger, but the 1-year old yellow lab is a sweetheart and cuddler. Her kind temperament balances out the chaotic energy of her older brother.

The two dogs love the attention of Gagnon and Kaperonis so much they constantly follow them around the house, even into bed. As a result, the couple had to buy a California Queen bed just to accommodate their massive fur babies.

“I love them to death. They are like my kids,” Gagnon said about her furry coworkers.

Kylo and Penelope are constant companions who add a bit of brightness during Gagnon’s work-from-home days. When the dogs are not trying to snuggle or grab Gagnon’s attention, they enjoy the outdoors.

Summer is the pooches’ favorite time of year. The dog’s love to swim in the lake behind Gagnon’s home and even catch a ride on the couple’s boat during hot summer days.

These pandemic coworkers especially love road trips to Cape Cod during their annual vacation to Truro.

Whether it is providing laughs and smiles during the work week, or getting ready for adventure on road trips and vacations, Kylo and Penelope are certainly some of the best work-from-home coworkers to have around!

-- Story written by Sloane M. Perron

* denotes repeat winner

Best Furry Executive Assistant


Title: Executive assistant
Start date: Mila is one of the founding employees of Studio Jade, serving the agency since its launch in May
Primary coworker: Brittany Wong
Company: Studio Jade, in Worcester
Company website:

In Mila's role as an executive assistant, she attends client Zoom meetings, models for commercials and photoshoots, and keeps team morale up. Her true passions, though, are to hold hands, play fetch, and go on long car rides.

What makes Mila one of the best coworkers in Central Massachusetts? She comes to work every single day with a smile on her face, ready to put out the best work possible.

How has Mila made the coronavirus pandemic a little easier? Through Mila's participation in meetings, she leaves our clients and team with a smile even though the meetings typically do remain virtual.

Cutest Coworker

James “Jamie” Gardner 

Jamie’s role: Director of naps & snacks

Start date: February 2021

Primary coworker: Catrina Gardner, his mom

Company: Vision Advertising, in Northborough

Company website:

At Vision, Jamie’s primary responsibility is to enforce a healthy work-life balance for all staff members. His passion at the company is to take pictures and have pictures taken of him.

What makes Jamie one of the best coworkers in Central Massachusetts? He’s extremely supportive of new ideas and snack breaks. The energy he brings to the office everyday is palpable and evident through many high-fives and boisterous rounds of clapping.

How has Jamie made the coronavirus pandemic a little easier? When it’s difficult to see the positives in life, I suggest watching the world through the eyes of a baby. Watching Jamie discover new foods, the ocean, animals, grass, books, and much more is a reminder of how lucky we are and how magical this world can be.

Best Furry Duo

Bella and Dave Hebert 

Title: Best friends and occasional mascots to the Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce
Years with company: 7 (Bella) and 3 (Dave)
Primary coworker: Jeannie Hebert
Company: Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce, in Whitinsville
Company website:

Bella and Dave serve in the dual roles of court jesters and calming influencers at the Blackstone Valley chamber. Bella’s primary passions at the organization are eating, sleeping, and snuggling, while Dave’s main responsibilities are leaping, patrolling, and (also) snuggling.

What makes Bella and Dave the best coworkers in Central Massachusetts? Bella and Dave never have a cross word or gossip about anyone. They share their zest and love of life equally among the staff and love to be on camera for Zoom meetings. Bella likes to chat with everyone and even sings us a tune now and then. Dave is deaf so he is the quiet one, but generous with kisses, even on camera.

How have Bella & Dave made the coronavirus pandemic a little easier? Bella and Dave make everyday a bit brighter and like Mary Tyler Moore, can “take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile!”

Best Coworker With Nine Lives

Sheba Boudrot

Title: Quality comfort care associate
Years with company: 4
Primary coworker: Sherry Boudrot
Company: Boston Scientific, in Marlborough
Company website:

As the comfort care associate, Sheba's primary responsibility is to keep Sherry company, remind her to take breaks, and listen really well. Sheba will walk over and sit on the computer to get attention and hangs out on a side table next to the remote office, demanding to be petted when he wants Sherry to take a break.

What makes Sheba one of the best coworkers in Central Massachusetts? Sheba performs her duties faithfully and brightens my life everyday.

How has Sheba made all the coronavirus pandemic a little easier? Sheba became an integral part of my life during the pandemic and keeps my work/life balance in check!  

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