What If ‘Take Your Child To Work’ Day Was Every Day?

What if every day was Take Your Child To Work Day?

The idea may sound (I’ll just say it) ridiculous. But taking your child to work every day is an option at 180 employers in the US, according to the Parenting in the Workplace Institute (PWI). Currently, 110 babies are snuggling up with their mothers at their work stations at the Arizona Department of Health Services. Seven little ones don’t have to worry about separating from their mothers who work for W.S. Badger, an organic body-care company in New Hampshire.

Zutano, a clothing company, employing 20 in Vermont, allows fathers and nonbiological parents to take advantage of the program to bring babies up to a year old to work.

As Business Week notes, the “bring you child with you to work” concept took hold around 2008, to “convince young mothers to return to work earlier—it was the recession, and maternity leave wasn’t cheap—or to make sure they didn’t quit after having children.” Michael Belenky, president of Zutano, notes that finding a replacement for someone for a sustained block of time was challenging and that having babies in the office has “been a surprisingly easy and cheap program to implement.”

Belenky’s statement bears repeating. Having babes-in-arms in the workplace has “been a surprisingly easy and cheap program to implement.” That’s a bit of a different view than most people would have on hearing about babies, diapers, breastfeeding, etc. in the workplace and a refreshing one.

Admittedly, toddlers and the preschool set — curious, roaming around and capable of “playing” in potentially, ah, destructive ways with things like computer keyboards — would not be the best candidates for becoming fixtures at the office. There are plenty of professions (in medical fields, for instance) at which regular appearances with a baby would be more difficult, if not impossible. But employers like those mentioned above show that small accommodations (an empty room for a crying child) can make it possible. Bringing a baby who’s nursing to work would certainly eliminate the none-too-fun activity of pumping one’s breasts and contention about providing women with a private and comfortable place to do so.

Joanna Caravita, a doctoral candidate in Hebrew at the University of Texas at Austin, simply says that having her daughter, Ziv, in class while she teaches is “not as disruptive as you’d think,” in contrast to the brouhaha raised when an American University professor nursed her sick child while lecturing. Caravita says that, as Ziv is now a toddler, she has not been bringing her to class. In other words, parents who are bringing their children to work every day are doing so in ways that work for both their child and for their co-workers or others at their workplace.

I quit one job to stay at home after my son Charlie was born in 1997; I taught part-time and, when he was sick, brought him with me to class. Though the students did not at all object, I remember feeling very sheepish and apologetic to appear with my babe-in-arms. But if there was a sense that it was culturally acceptable to bring a child routinely to work, how many more women would take advantage of such an option?



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Photo by jessicafm


Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

pretty awesome idea. like the ancient ancestors... carry them about on a sling or pack :)

OmegaForPrez now
OmegaForPrez now5 years ago

I took my kids to work with me, every day, until they were old enough for school. Even now, when they are finished with school, they get picked up by me and I drive them back to be at work with me till I am finished. It is no big deal, sure it was a little hectic when they were babies and I had conference calls, but its good now.

paul m.
paul m5 years ago

When I was in College in the good times in Ireland , there was a room set-out for young Chrildren , whilst the parent was in class as a Nursey can be very expensive, but the idea was good and with cut-backs a parent has too pay a small fortune ..

Danuta Watola
Danuta W5 years ago

Thanks for the share!

Dagmar Breg
Past Member 5 years ago

I've heard of jobs and even schools that offer daycare in their facilities. That may be one approach.

Colleen Prinssen
Colleen Prinssen5 years ago

Nikolas K.

didn't those people have "live or die" jobs, or a very small personal trade skill? how far back are we talking about? 200? 80? 1,000?

Grace Adams
Grace Adams5 years ago

When my boss's son was 3 or 4 years old and tearing up office paper, I learned to save the word processing file of thank you for your donations letters until the letter was signed and mailed, in case the letter needed to be reprinted.

Robert Pavlick
Robert Pavlick5 years ago

Spirit S says: "I think it would be good for employers to provide free daycare on site. I think it would increase productivity and I'm sure it would be tax deductible."

Spoken like a true Lib. When are you people going to comprehend the FACT that NOTHING IS FREE; someone is paying for it. So now you want your employer to pay for "free daycare". Why not free lunch, free transportation to and from work, free haircuts and stylings so that you will be presentable at work, etc. etc.??????

As a result of your "free daycare", your employer will, first off, have to hire trained infant care personnel and create a safe space for the children. Your employer's insurance rates will go way up to cover the children, who are NOT employees.

Where do you think all of these costs of running such an operation are going to come from? Your employer will probably pass these costs along to customers and that may harm his competitive edge in the business world and lead to layoffs. If he recoups the cost by some kind of tax deduction, then YOUR "free daycare" is being paid by MY tax dollars. Why should YOUR daycare be free while I have to pay for mine?

NOTHING IN THIS WORLD IS FREE. Someone has to pay for it and why should it be me when YOU are the one benefiting from it???

Erica B.
Erica B5 years ago

Bringing a baby to work isn't always practical, depending on the job, but it should be encouraged whenever possible. It would cut down on sick days, when a baby is sick and mom or dad has to stay home instead of being productive at work, or when the sitter can't watch your baby because SHE is sick. It may be less productive...but productive none the less.

I don't think we are ready yet to bring baby to work EVERY day, but why not, when they are under the weather, or something happens and child care falls through? If it isn't an everyday practice, the occasional day of less than perfect production isn't that big of a deal, is it? Not when you think about the loss of production if you don't show up for work at all!

Erica B.
Erica B5 years ago

This article is really just talking about bringing BABIES to work...not get-into-everything toddlers or older children. I DO have personal experience with this issue, both as a mother who HAD to bring my baby to work when he was sick, and as a patient, when my chiropractor brought her baby in to work, carried on her back in a carrier.

In the instances where I brought my very young son to work with me, it was during the aftermath of hurricane Andrew, when I was working for an auto glass company. I was working as a CSR, 7 days a week and 12-16 hours a day, because of the volume of business. My baby boy had a cold and the sitter wouldn't care for him...and my ex-husband refused to help me out. My boss (a single guy in his late twenties) was very happy to accommodate my son, since it would have been HELL without me there to answer the bajillion phone calls and set up the appointments, billing, insurance verification, end of day paperwork, etc. I was a one person office.

As for my chiropractor, I don't remember hearing a single patient complain about her baby, since the alternative would have been going without an adjustment when we were in pain! She brought the baby in when he was sick, but kept him away from the patients during an adjustment.