when babies go to work
did you know?
More than 130 companies have implemented infants-at-work programs, including credit unions, consulting firms, stores, private schools, and law offices.
wise words we heard
Rather than staying stuck in that tired “parent versus worker” mentality, we need to recognize “good parent” equals “good worker.”
While there are different options for managing the needs of a new baby as a working parent—taking a leave of absence, switching to contract work, job sharing, and others—sometimes the best option is the simple one: let the baby come to work with the parent for six to eight months. Today formal babies-at-work programs are popping up and—to the delight of scores of new parents—working well. Mothers and fathers have successfully brought their babies to workplaces ranging from cubicles to retail environments and to companies with as few as three employees to more than 3,000. The Parenting in the Workplace Institute offers resources on how to make a formal babies-at-work program successful for all—worker, business, and baby.
These programs are entirely different from employer-supported infant-care options such as onsite daycare. They allow parents to perform their regular jobs while “wearing,” feeding, and watching over the new baby.
Advice for Employers
- Take advantage of the agreements already in use or create your own rules of engagement. Spelling out concrete terms and provisions for bringing an infant to work—and having both parties sign and agree to the terms—greatly increases the chance of success.
- Set standards of eligibility. Make the age of baby, demeanor of the baby, and performance of the worker prerequisites for participation.
- Provide appropriate privacy. For the privacy of the parent and the consideration of officemates, set up appropriate spaces for feeding and changing and a retreat spot if baby’s having a tough moment.
Advice for Workers
- Remember that coworkers are not babysitters. Don’t anticipate that everyone will want to have guardian time over your little one, but do have one volunteer in place who can step in for bathroom breaks.
- Use common sense. If you or your baby are sick, don’t go to work. And remember, if you run out for coffee, baby goes too.
Download a PDF flier about Babies at Work to share with friends, post in a common area at work or put up on your fridge. Once you open this file, you can save it to your computer to send it as an email or print it out to post a physical copy.