Let’s start with a couple rhetorical questions:
Is the primary reason LDS women are counseled to stay home to care for their babies and children because the workforce historically does not allow parents to bring their children to work with them?
If yes, what if the workforce changed and started welcoming mother-baby dyads into the office or onto the sales floor for those mothers feeling led to work outside the home?
Some companies are doing that, over 140 across in the United States, in fact. The list of organizations can be found at the website Babies at Work.org sponsored by the Parenting in the Workforce Institute.
The vision of Parenting in the Workforce Institute is stated as follows:
We are prepared to enable a dramatic expansion of this world in which babies come to work every day with their mothers or fathers and in which parents can lovingly care for their children while also getting their jobs done:
A world in which bank tellers and grocery store employees cuddle their babies while helping clients, and customers come to the businesses more often specifically to visit the babies
A world in which coworkers and managers start out skeptical about starting a babies-at-work program, but then find themselves bonding with the babies and wanting them to continue coming to work
A world in which parents can stay with their babies and work to support their families at the same time
A world in which both men and women in the workplace provide a social network for these new families and volunteer to help care for the babies
A world in which the business benefits of these programs are so significant that executives rave about how integral a baby program has been in the success of their business
In a call for support I found posted on Stand and Deliver, a blog about mothering, pregnancy and childbirth written by LDS woman Rixa Freeze, PhD, the founder of PWI is seeking people who will:
1. Join the PIWI Network. Whether you’ve taken a baby to work, work in a baby-inclusive company (or want to), or are simply supportive of our efforts to build a world in which families of all kinds are supported, we would love to hear your experiences and opinions. Joining is free, and you can choose to donate $30 if you wish to receive a PIWI mug and a seal for your website to show your support. We are also starting a PIWI Blog Network for advance notice of PIWI initiatives and opportunities to participate in blog carnivals and other events. If you wish to join the Blog Network, please enter your information when you join our Network.
2. Tell Companies About Our Bridge Project. Spread the word to current baby-inclusive companies that might be interested in joining the Bridge Project—the first wave of our plans to celebrate and expand babies in the workplace. Companies who join the Bridge Between Career and Family will have their baby program permanently featured on our website and will receive free initial baby-inclusive certification services and a discount on services to enhance the effectiveness of their baby program, outreach avenues for sharing their products and services with Institute supporters, an outlet for finding skilled employees among PIWI supporters, and priority for being included in future media pieces.
3. Follow PIWI on Facebook and Twitter. Join our Facebook community and Twitter page; we will be communicating frequently in the upcoming days with our supporters there as well as on PIWI Place, our private community for PIWI Supporters.
4. Grow Our Baby-Inclusive Database. Tell us if you know of companies anywhere in the world that have allowed an employee to bring a baby to work (even informally) so that we can contact them and add them to our list. Share with us your suggestions of companies that might be willing to work with us to set up a formal babies-at-work pilot program (at no charge for the Institute’s services).
5. Expand Our Outreach. Write and talk about parenting in the workplace–show the world that this is being done successfully in many different environments. Send us your pictures and videos of bringing your babies to work. Spread the word about our effort to bring parenting at work to the mainstream, and share your own experiences and thoughts about this concept. Let us know when you post your work and we’ll do our best to share your thoughts with other supporters of parenting in the workplace.
For more on information on PWI, look for pictures, videos, interviews, and survey results on their Babies in the Workplace website, this blog, and their Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as through various other outlets that support their work, such as MomsRising with their new website, the Custom-Fit Workplace. Also keep an eye out for Rixa’s interview of PWI’s founder Carla Moquin.
For other innovative and child-friendly employment policies, check out MomsRising’s Open Flexible Work page where they discuss flexible work arrangements like flexible scheduling, telecommuting, job sharing, career customization, part-time work options and, on-ramps for parents who take time away from work in addition to taking babies to work.
If you had the opportunity to take your baby to work, would you do it? Have you been able to take your baby to work or arrange any of these other flexible work options? How did it work for you? How did it go with your baby? If you took your infant to work, what did you and your employer decide once your baby became mobile?