Tags: Addison Lee, Babies at Work, Babies in the Office, BBC 2, Bring your own Baby, BYOB, Man Creche
I just watched the BBC 2 program ‘Babies in the Office’, a documentary about the taxi firm Addison Lee and a trial whereby parents were allowed to bring their babies to work with them. In seconds I found myself having mini palpitations at the mere thought of trying to work with a child on my lap. I’d struggle to stay seated let alone achieve anything that resembled work. How do other people feel?
The trial at Addison Lee proved successful and they agreed to implement the scheme on an ongoing basis with babies under one welcome at the desk and older babies cared for in a nursery on site. The on site nursery I think is a fantastic idea, but I was surprised that any parent would want to try to juggle calls and emails with a wriggling child on their knee demanding more rice cakes.
Part of the logic behind the scheme was to help parents who wanted to work but couldn’t because of high childcare costs. I think addressing that issue with a nursery is fantastic. The other incentive was for parents who didn’t feel they got to spend enough quality time with their children – one mum commented that she felt she’d been able to get to know her daughter a lot better as a direct result of being able to take her to the office. This is where I felt a bit stumped – but that’s just a personal choice – I’d rather work fewer hours, cram as much work into those hours as possible and then spend quality time, away from the office with my child.
Surely putting a baby in a rocker from 9-5 under your desk isn’t a good thing? Surely the poor parent’s blood pressure must be going through the roof thinking ‘I must finish this call before my baby pukes’?! I couldn’t cope. I think I’d even go so far as to say I’d prefer to pay through the nose for good childcare and lose most of my salary to benefit from the peace of working without having to switch from board meeting to baby sick.
I’m not dismissing the fact that Addison Lee have achieved something quite remarkable and they truly are offering flexible working solutions which I think is fantastic. It’s also very commendable that so many of their non-parenting colleagues were so supportive. I think they’ve broken new ground which deserves a pat on the back. The cynic in me sees it partially as a PR stunt but if parents benefit from it then it’s a win at the end of the day.
BYOB (Bring Your Own Baby) though, sorry but it just aint for me – work hard, play hard I say – and keep the two in separate locations – a baby would have a field day with the neatly arranged stationery on my desk – it would send my OCD tendencies over the edge.
On the note of innovative child care, I still think the ‘Man Crèche’ is an inspired idea.
Image courtesy of standard.co.uk – Babies in the Office, BBC 2.