Is This The Way forward?

1This is Italian MEP Mrs Ronzulli. She took her child to work on voting day in a sling, every so often bending to give the little munchkin a kiss on the bonce.2

This image has been around but I still LOVE it! I have never understood the anti-family stance of most companies and society in general. In my office of the future there would be a place for babies and toddlers to come to work with their parents of both sexes and also a space for pets. It would be paid for in part by the company and the people using the facilities.

I believe that a lot of companies are missing out on great people because of their daft approach to hiring a samey identikit profile of employees and making a big deal out of the fact that women who like to work also produce babies, (shock! Horror!)


So School Me!

Moms, pops, non parents…Am I nuts?

Children-drama and important work deadlines? Can they mix?

Could this work at your place of employment?

Is this impractical? (And before anyone mentions screaming kids, in my utopian office they would be looked after by certified assistants away from the work areas for the majority of the day – although certainly not banned from little visits if well behaved).


70 thoughts on “Is This The Way forward?

  1. I love the idea of being able to bring your pet or child with you to work. I know a few places where they can bring their dogs to work and its so much fun to visit the offices and everyone seems so happy. I think being able to take a break from work and be able to sit down and play with your pet or child brings your moods up and you’re ready to tackle that project again. I know as a blogger, I enjoy being able to step back from the computer, sit down with my pets, then come back with a better attitude, ready to get back to emails and continue editing photos and posts.

    1. I absolutely second that emotion! What is the point of a day when you can’t have several cuddle breaks with a pet, child or other? And pets ALWAYS make you feel better with none of the drama. πŸ™‚

  2. Not entirely what you asked, but, my husband and I (when I could work) have worked from home pretty continuously since the late 1980’s. My husband works in computers, and I have done day care, medical transcription, teaching, bookkeeping, and fibre arts – and we ran a farm. We reared five children, homeschooling them even, so that they were with us almost all of the time. I did put the baby (whichever baby it was) in a sling and take him/her to work, or shopping, or whatever it was at the time. I see no contradiction between family and work. It seems to me to be an artificial separation that requires a heck of a lot of work to maintain. I’m not saying it was easy, or that I wouldn’t have liked the occasional day off (Husband and I went out overnight once a year for our anniversary). It was a choice that we made, and not one that is available to everyone, but I think that it demonstrates pretty clearly that one can be both productive and valuable to an employer with one’s kids around.

    1. That phrase sums it all up for me. ‘An artificial separation.’ Just because we have been doing it for decades mindlessly or without consideration of alternatives doesn’t mean it is the correct or only option.

  3. Every time I see this picture I love it! I love the idea of being able to go to work with your newest child slung to your front or back, or next to you if you work a desk job. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you how many parent’s I hear say to me “I could never stay home with my kids, they drive me nuts! I can’t wait for them to go to school everyday.” Ouch…. I wonder if we’d create a closer bond if we did it this way?

    1. Plus I wonder if that feeling is what creates aimless, bored kids who are placed in front of the television everyday so their parents don’t have to hang out with them?

      Why does the rest of the world have to hang out with their kids if their own parents don’t want to?
      Thanks blankenmom!

  4. I own a business, and I allow my assistant to bring her dog, and once in a while I bring my pooch in. Also when my son was an infant and young toddler, my previous partner and I both brought our boys in. Now that he is older, and he gets in to things (breakable things that I use for events), I no longer bring him to work, it stresses me out too much. I think businesses that have a separate space for their employees children, as well as care-givers is an amazing concept, I don’t have the space!

  5. Having kids around is very distracting. I have five. I look forward to them going off to school each day. πŸ™‚ They’re very well behaved, but they ask a lot of questions, get cranky and want to monopolize conversation. Dogs? Why not birds and chickens as well? Where would you draw the line? Have you ever sat through a movie with a crying kid (or a barking dog)? How annoying is that? Especially when the parent doesn’t seem to notice. Suddenly there would be more rules and complaints at the office.

      1. I read it, dear. I like a quiet work environment. Is that a new crime? All I’m saying is that you’ll never please everybody at your utopian workplace. For all of the breast-feeding mothers you gain there’s a good chance other people will leave. Also if you’ve ever been around roosters they can be dangerous (I know from experience). All of these “pets” are a great liability to a company. What if one of the kids gets loose from the on-site daycare looking for his parent in the other room and wanders into the pet sitting area. He gets scratched by a cat and there goes mom suing her employer.

        I know you said the children would be in on-site childcare most of the day (I guess the company would take on that liability, too), but I was also referencing the woman in the picture.

      2. ‘I read it, dear. I like a quiet work environment. Is that a new crime?’ #sledgehammer.

        I don’t think you’ll please everybody anywhere at any time in the whole world and my utopia is not trying to do that. It’s just trying to come up with family and life friendly alternatives to what is 9 to 5 ‘drudgery’ (for some). Is that a crime? #sledgehammer.

        I would not recommend lopping one’s breasts out at one’s desk, especially as we would have provided a mother’s area. Plus they can bottle breast milk for the carer to feed their child.

        And I see, a mother or small daycare centre who takes in children for others is not also liable for things going wrong? Who isn’t liable for things going wrong, can you name someone? I mean how on earth do they shoot films with children and animals eh?! Also the extent of your liability is dependent on your legal set-up. Few things are non negotiable. And then there is of course insurance.

        A rooster could poke out an eye and a space ship could land inside my utopian office – and outside of it. People (with initiative) see an issue and deal with it.
        How about doors with handles too high for kids that require a code to open and it shuts automatically? Hardly expensive, I’ve had one. How about a security guard stationed outside the door? Too expensive? Possibly not as we might have security anyway.

        Okay, how about CCTV or a normal camera where parents can watch their kids from their desk? They have this already in standard daycare homes where you can watch your kid online while at work. The cost? Peanuts.

        Any more foreseeable problems because I’m starting the build next week?
        Bring it on Mama! (Or indeed mom!) You know I love your banter!

  6. Nice example!

    In Switzerland they have an interesting initiative. Once per year, they allow the kids to visit the parents’ working place (normally only in big companies). They call it the “future day”.
    I think it’s a great opportunity to show the kids what their parents do and to be able to stay with yhem during the day.

  7. Nice example!

    In Switzerland they have a nice initiative. Once per year, they allow the kids to visit the parents’ working place (normally only in big companies). They call it the “future day”.
    I think it’s a nice opportunity to show the kids what their parents do and to be able to stay with yhem during the day.

  8. Yes, by all means, let’s demand that employers invite the whole damn family to come and spend the day. Why not provide lunch and refreshments too. Let’s turn it into a party and the heck with production. When an employer hires someone they are required to provide health insurance, unemployment insurance, sick leave, maternity leave, retirement pay and the list goes on. Anymore, when a company hires a person the company is stuck with providing for that person from there to the grave but the employee is free to walk out at any time. When did we decide that a company’s purpose was to provide for employees rather than to produce something? It was the employee that decided to have kids and pets, not the employer. Among the comments I see criticism for companies wanting to make money. Why else would they be in business. Isn’t that the reason that an employee takes a job, to make money? It is no wonder that so many companies have moved out of the country. In case anyone is wondering, I am currently retired but, in the past, I have been both, an employee and an employer.

    1. No one said we should demand anything of the sort authorjim. Every company is different – I can’t see kids and pets at a car mechanics for example. And some companies (especially the most popular ones to work at I note) DO provide lunch and refreshments!

      I take great issue with some of the things that companies are required by law to provide their employees with already, including what you said. But I also have plenty of examples that production is increased when workers know that their bosses give a damn about them, read ‘Maverick’ by Ricardo Semler for just one example.

      Giving a damn and profit are not mutually exclusive, although I’d wager that giving a damn and the sheer greed we have seen from some of our ‘finest’ institutions is.

      No, It’s MY utopia, not a legislative issue and from my experience also as an employee and employer and also as someone who has studied commerce and business and was also an office manager at one point i.e dealing with human resources, I’m saying that if you would like to retain loyal staff who don’t spend most of their time clock watching when you are not around or have their minds pre-occupied with sneaking off early to attend to home matters, then provide for them.

      You can still make buck by being attentive to human needs. Can you make more buck by NOT doing so e.g workers in China? Probably. Would I want MY workers working like that? Nope.
      For me true wealth is having the material things I need, sharing that wealth with equally solid workers and being able to sleep at night.

      Western companies have moved out to other places mainly for cheaper than cheap labour that is prepared to work in 18th century conditions with no rights, end of. There’s nothing noble in that, but from a purely business perspective perfectly understandable. But let’s face it, the reason they leave is greenbacks and not largely the fault of the behaviour of the people in their originating countries as maybe intimated by you. As a result people are losing the skills they used to have in those originating countries, so the problem becomes ingrained.

      I personally have a finite need for money. The trouble with a lot of corporations and their owners is that they do not and seem convinced that they can take their wealth with them when they die, so they accumulate at all costs even human ones.

      That isn’t me or my utopian office and I am far from being a lovey-dovey, tree hugging type of person. I have absolutely no difficulty keeping an eye on my bottom line and remaining on the good side of human.

      (NB and this is not suggesting those without the means for my utopia are not on the good side of human, merely potentially those that you alluded to who are large enough to warrant hiring outside of their originating country).
      But thank goodness for dissent to my utopia AJ! I was getting worried there!

      1. I enjoyed your rebuttal. I don’t find fault with seeking utopia as long as the seeker realizes that there is a cost and is willing to be responsible for that cost. You touched on the popular charge of corporate greed. Many people seem to have the notion that there is something sinful about corporations doing what they can to make a profit. What they don’t seem to understand is that shareholders demand a return on their investment and a corporation wouldn’t last long without investors.
        Hey, I am always ready and willing to offer an opposing view.

      2. Well greed and profit are not quite the same thing. Going to someone else’s country and decimating it and it’s people to steal their natural resources for ha’penny and selling it for millions is greed – although certainly profitable.

        I don’t think shareholders wanting their 3rd ski trip of the year is an excuse for outrageous behaviour although one can understand the temptations and pressures for the businesses and people under their thumb.

        I’m all for profit and I never confuse business for being a charity as some do. It is a money making instrument first and foremost – but business doesn’t have to be inhuman. Individuals choose it to be. The Body Shop as one example was successful whilst sharing the wealth with indigenous people rather than stealing it.

        Let’s face it, a lot of corporations have the popular charge of greed for good reason as most have been caught with their hands in someone else’s cookie jar at one time or another – whether that is topping up their pensions via other country’s wealth or taking it from their own workers. Or is your point ‘people seem to have the notion that there is something sinful about corporations doing what they can to make a profit’ saying that it is justifiable to do WHATEVER it takes to make a profit?

        As for the cost I can’t think of much in life that doesn’t have a cost. Ambition has cost, love has a cost, family life has a cost, business has a cost, utopia has a cost. I would be willing to be as responsible for that as everyone else is about all the other things that have cost.

        Thank God for opposing views! πŸ™‚

  9. In some countries, bringing your infant to work with you is the norm…more often in more so called underdeveloped countries. I do believe we could learn a lot by following their lead.

  10. To me it makes economic sense to do something like this. Think of all the skills, experience and training companies lose out on when women are forced to leave work or go part-time to look after their children. Surely at least some of the cost of providing child-care is balanced by not having to train up new people?

  11. yes this is the way forward. Yesterday, Madame Lagarde talked about ‘dealing with some feelings of guilt’ ‘cos she couldn’t be there some times for her children. When employers make employees happy humanly, the latter are more productive. Besides, the dream is not so utopian. the Lagos Business School for instance, has a creche within the premises where for their staff’ babies. And it is wonderful. Many others are doing the same and many more should join them.

    1. …and talking of Lagos, how many blue collar or market workers already do this on a smaller scale anyway? It is completely natural to bring baby to work tied to the back while the women sell their goods.
      Thanks Amaka.

  12. Nuts? No. More like genius, and my people. I would love to have had my daughter close by and not have to worry about going to pick her up from somewhere. I think child care is the biggest stressor (that and the amount of money that it costs) – and really is preventing me from practically thinking of having another one. From your blog to the Universe’s ears…well..actually I think President Obama mentioned it tonight, but under the current political climate, I don’t know that it will go anywhere.

    1. Is that Obama stealing my ideas again? Jeez mate – get your own already! But wouldn’t it be great?! In my experience it is mostly (but not always) mothers who have to deal with the rushing around from about 3pm trying to be all things to everyone. It would be great to sort this out. Thanks Joy.

    1. Doesn’t it? In my utopia your dogs would get along! They’d just need time to adjust to meeting and hanging with their new friends and if they were very naughty – cage time! – Until they behaved. (A nice cage).

  13. You’re referring to companies having onsite daycare, you mean?

    Well, not a lot could. They’d have to be large/profitable enough and be able to afford the space for it. I can’t name names, but there must be companies out there already that offer it.

    I’m thinking that detractors would be those who would object to company money going towards childcare. i.e., the “childfree.” Some can be quite… vocal about the presence of children.

    Full disclosure: No kids by choice, but wouldn’t object to onsite daycare if general productivity were unaffected.

    1. Tell you what HT, if it were MY company I couldn’t care less what folks say I’d do it! The company would put in some of the cash but the parents /pet owners would pay the largest bit.
      Don’t like it? See that door….? πŸ™‚

      I know I probably haven’t thought it out well enough, but as for cost, even when I worked in a small office with about 4 of us and there was a kid brought in occasionally whilst waiting for her Ma she would sit on my lap while I worked. I personally didn’t mind at all. It would have taken only a few things shifting around a bit I think to make it a more permanent thing. A lot of the other places I worked had an office pet too.

  14. I like your utopian office idea. Too often young kids and pets get left home alone for the majority of the day because daycare costs are going up somuch. If companies really want to be equal opportunity, they should provide areas/services that make it feasible for working parents to still have their children or pets raised in a healthy, social environment.

  15. The one thing I’ve never been able to find in all the workplaces I’ve been a part of is that little bit of humanity to it all. I was just another body to fill the gap in the company’s rapacious quest for money, money, and more money. How nice would it have been to be able to stop once in a while to smell the flowers, to play with the little ones (furry and otherwise), and just… oh, you know, reconnect with the humanness in me?

    1. Tony I have never understood this either. Perhaps because most companies are male run? I see nothing wrong with going for the bottom line and maintaining one’s humanity, treating those who behave respectfully with equal respect.
      Some companies are doing it, Innocent, Virgin (although don’t know about today) and the Body Shop started with good intentions (again, don’t now about today).

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