Bring Your Baby to Work Day Is Every Day at These Forward-Thinking Companies

It's no secret that the U.S. is struggling to keep new mothers thriving in the workforce, but recently there has been what feels like a wave of progress. The newest arrangement to receive praise involves bringing your baby to work. That's right. Cradle them in a sling while you type away, let them watch you negotiate difficult clients, or let them sleep while you file paperwork. It's all part of a growing "Infants at Work" program

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The program got its start by Carla Moquin, a frustrated mom in Utah who knew she could've brought her baby to work without disrupting anyone. She set out to educate the workforce in 2007 and she's reaping the rewards; approximately 200 companies and organizations in the U.S. have an Infants at Work policy.

The key to her success in winning support for the program has been its clear boundaries and guidelines. The babies-at-work program only applies to infants, which means once they start crawling, parents have to find alternative childcare -- presumably because we can't have them scooting into a coworker's office unannounced. It also works only for those children who actually coo and sleep like babies. This means my colic son wouldn't have qualified, but I can't blame the office for not wanting to hear his screaming all day. 

For mothers -- and fathers! -- who can take advantage of this policy, the response has been overwhelmingly positive from coworkers, management, and the parents themselves. While productivity does in fact go down for the parent caring for the child, it does not appear to affect other coworkers. And Moquin noted that "parents are so grateful for the opportunity to have their baby with them that they work really hard to make sure the critical tasks are completed; they stay late if they need to."

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Moquin also recommends setting up a baby-free zone for those coworkers not excited about an infant near their cubicle. But she's quick to point out that those spaces are rarely necessary. The presence of a quiet and calm baby has the tendency to boost morale and a feeling of cooperation among coworkers, not separate them.

Although it wouldn't have worked for my fussy baby, this program feels like an important acknowledgement of the struggles that force new moms out of the office. It helps ease the transition from newborn to daycare so that moms don't have to dread their first day back in the grind after a short maternity leave. It eases the isolation of a new mom and allows her to stay in the workforce after a temporary concession. It's a win-win step in the right direction to retaining valuable mothers in the U.S. workforce.

 

Image via c12/shutterstock

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