BYO Baby? Company lets parents keep kids at desks

by Caitlin Nobes26 Jul 2012

There’s no easy solution to the question of how parents juggle kids and work. From government day care subsidies to in-house crèches, there is no end to attempts to solve the problem, but could it be as simple as letting the little ones in?

It’s not quite John F. Kennedy Jnr playing under his dad’s oval office desk, but UK minicab and chauffeur company Addison Lee has introduced a program allowing new mothers and fathers to care for their babies at their desks.

The scheme started as a trial for a BBC documentary, but was introduced permanently at Addison Lee’s London office, where 900 workers are based. It was partly designed to encourage staff to return to work after maternity leave and so far eight babies have been brought on site.

The BBC show was based on a project in the US which encouraged businesses to allow workers to bring their infants to work. So far 170 companies have signed up and more than 2,000 babies have been brought into workplaces. “As a family-owned business we were excited at the chance to participate in this project to create a better work-life balance for our employees,” Liam Griffin, managing director of Addison Lee, said.

Griffin added that the initiative offered advantages to both employers and employees. “The scheme has a number of significant benefits for both our staff and the business, from increased staff loyalty and retention through to elevated morale resulting in improved productivity,” he said.

“Women realized it would give them the possibility of saving on childcare while bonding with their babies for longer and continuing to breastfeed,” Griffin said.


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