So the BBC have broadcast a two part documentary this week entitled “Babies in the Office” which as the title suggests explores a minicab firm allowing employees to bring their children into work with the arguments of saving on childcare costs, getting to spend time with the little ones, helping their development (hmm I question this too) etc. I don’t quite see why this merits the BBC using up money and resources in creating a documentary about it – surely those clips of babies crying and disrupting work and getting bored so creating havoc is predictable? But they have touched upon something that is very important in the 21st Century, particularly with less and less women being stay at home Mum’s with no childcare worries. For that, I thank the BBC but argue that they could have done this ‘social experiment’ in a much better way that may have been more useful for other companies to learn from.
What I can’t seem to understand is why the company’s rational thought is to let the kids be with their parents at their desks whilst they work. Maybe I’m just being unaffectionate but wouldn’t a much better solution be to bring the kids to work but have them looked after in a separate room (a more colourful, stimulating room filled with better child absorbing activities than staplers and Excel Spreadsheets). This way the parent can concentrate on their work and when they can, go and spend time with their little ones, without half heartedly doing their work whilst trying to keep an eye of their child having a play with the shredder. Some majorly big corporations like Linklaters do this (they also have sleeping pods and hairdressers for employees!) and I’m surprised that more companies haven’t cottoned on.
Not only would this mean that parents could balance their public and private lives in one domain, but employers would greatly benefit too – maybe not in an economical sense but in an efficient and productive one where their employees would be more settled and collectively spend more time at work. Who knows, maybe a quick trip to the nursery and playing with some play-doh might drive a marketing assistant’s creativity. This could work in the same way and reasoning for why some companies offer health insurance and other benefits to their employees – to allow a little leeway in their pay and keep the employees interested in sticking with their employers.
But that said, I’m not completely pro children being in the workplace like that, I’m only really thinking of those extreme circumstances where children are kept from their corporate parents for nearly 13 hours a day. There can be a lot of negativity too, particularly if a parent is having a stressful day at work and that transfers to their child. Also, might be a bit embarrassing if one was to attend a meeting with sick on their shirt and crayon markings all over their trousers.