Do Business And Babies Work?
By Claire West
Babies could become a regular sight in Britain's boardrooms thanks to a new scheme which encourages mums and dads to take their toddlers to work.
The childcare alternative, being trialled by officebroker.com, has no crèche and instead the children have office corners, meeting rooms and mum and dads workspace to play in.
The trial took place on the firms' busy sales floor, with the babies sharing office space with over 30 telephone-based consultants.
As well as coping with the demands of their children, the parents also have to manage their day to day office duties.
Four of the officebroker.com
...taken part in the experiment, with their children ranging from just four months old to 16 months.
The trial has been met with mixed results. Although at times distracting for the parents and their colleagues, it also fostered an increase in team spirit and the children bought departments from across the business together.
MD Jim Venables believes companies have to support employees as best they can when it comes to childcare arrangements, or they risk losing a lot of good people.
He said: "We find it difficult to replace parents on maternity leave and those who choose not to come back to work. More often than not their decision on returning to work is based on the childcare options open to them and whether or not they are affordable.
"It's a very real problem for us, and I'm sure for thousands of other companies across the UK, so looking into alternatives or ways to support parents is always high on our agenda. We heard about this particular programme so decided to try it out to see how successful it is."
Training and development manager Fiona Spruce took in her four month old Grace. She was joined by receptionist Kerry Norman with Hayden, also four... continued on page two >