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Babies at work?

Did anyone see the programme “Babies at Work” on the BBC last night? The programme centred on a company, Addison Lee, a minicab and chauffeur business.

Staff at the company’s London headquarters are now allowed to bring their babies into the office and care for them whilst working at their desks. “Buddies” are on hand to support parents by soothing the children if they begin to scream during a work call and a quiet breastfeeding room is available for mothers.

The initiative is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK – but the concept itself is not entirely new. Similar schemes have already been implemented in the US and reports are that these have been successful, with more than 170 companies on board.

It is hoped that the family-centred scheme will help mums and dads achieve a better work / life balance, by giving them flexibility and allowing them to bond with their children longer. The initiative will also assist parents with the increasing childcare costs in the UK- which are up a third since 2008.

The MD of Addison Lee believes the initiative will do the business good as a whole by boosting staff loyalty and morale, which in turn will result in improved productivity.

However, this approach to childcare is not without its critics. Is a workplace a suitable environment for babies? Is perhaps a less radical approach, such as subsidised nursery places, more appropriate?

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