Bring your child to work?

UPDATE: One of the leaders in setting these programs up has written in (see comments below). She notes that these programs are generally made available to ALL employees, so my worry below was misplaced. She also gives some useful links, and offers to help universities set this sort of thing up.

There’s a New York Times article on workplaces that allow employees to bring their babies (and sometimes pre-school kids) to work. There are a variety of ways that they manage this, and they’re interesting to read about. But two things struck me: (1) Of course (this is the NY TImes!), the focus was on well-paid professionals; (2) It’s presented as a “maternity leave alternative”– which is part of the story but only part. The actual article mentions (though doesn’t say much about) men taking up this option as well; and mostly discusses employees who do this well beyond common US maternity leave allowances. What are your thoughts in general, and what are your thoughts about the potential for this in academia?

4 thoughts on “Bring your child to work?

  1. I think it’s quite sensible in the age range mentioned most often (6 weeks to 6 or 8 months) when the salary is set at 80% as was mentioned in the article, thus acknowledging that the person is not paying 100% attention. But compared with the alternatives (daycare and pumping) I would think this a quite good solution.

  2. Personally I would not be able to concentrate on my work if my children were there. I would be more concerned about what they were doing, who they were disturbing, what they were seeing/hearing that wasn’t entirely appropriate and a myriad of other things. It is hard enough to concentrate on work when my children are not there let alone with them at my side, wanting my attention every moment. I don’t know how parents can work from home either (while their children are also at home). I simply cannot fathom it being as effective as working out of the home without children present.

  3. I’m the president of the Parenting in the Workplace Institute (mentioned in the article), and wanted to explain that in the overwhelming majority of companies and organizations that do this, virtually any employee can do it (secretaries, receptionists, computer specialists, lawyers, call center employees, etc.) subject to safety for the baby in the parent’s job situation. One of our requirements for listing companies is that the option has to be available to employees in general–not just management. Also, in almost all the more than 120 baby-friendly companies on our list (Borshoff is one of just a couple of exceptions), parents’ pay doesn’t change–companies feel that the benefits that come from allowing babies at work are worth it to them to keep the same pay rate (and parents work hard to make sure they get their work done).

    Our list of known baby-friendly companies, sorted by industry, by state, and alphabetically, is at http://www.babiesatwork.org/companies.html
    There are a number of university departments that have successful babies-at-work programs, and we’re happy to help new organizations to start programs (lots of information and template forms can be found at our Parenting in the Workplace Institute site at http://www.parentingatwork.org).

    Let me know if I can be of assistance!

    Carla Moquin
    Parenting in the Workplace Institute
    (801) 897-8702

  4. Many thanks for stopping by, Carla– and thanks also for the references which are very useful. It’s great to know that companies are making this available to all employees.

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