Womens Health
Womens Health

Bring Your Baby to Work? Could be a Reality Soon

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I've been in touch with Carla Moquin, founder of the Parenting in the Workplace Institute. PIWI helps businesses implement babies-at-work programs. Mothers and fathers bring their babies with them to work until the babies are around 9 months old or mobile. What a wonderful way to bridge the work-parenting dilemma--especially in the United States, where maternity/paternity leave is almost nonexistent.

The following is reposted from the PIWI blog with Carla's permission. Stay tuned for an interview with Carla Moquin in the near future. If you have questions for Carla, please leave them in the comments section! 

Help Create a Babies-at-Work World

The Parenting in the Workplace Institute (PIWI) has a vision of a world in which interacting with babies is just part of a regular day at the office. For nearly 150 confirmed businesses and more than 1,600 babies, this world is already a vivid and enchanting reality. Will you help our Institute to bring this reality to thousands of other businesses and millions of other families?

PIWI has already helped five businesses to set up successful and sustainable babies-at-work programs. We have documented successful baby-inclusive programs in law firms, consulting firms, retail stores, credit unions, government agencies, schools, and even in the offices of manufacturing companies, as well as many other kinds of organizations. We know that well-structured baby programs work in companies as small as three employees and as large as three thousand.

We are excited to announce the launch of a fully-supported and thoroughly-documented pilot babies-at-work program at Hot Studio, an “experience design company” with offices in San Francisco and New York City. We will be featuring pictures, videos, interviews, and survey results over the course of this pilot on our Babies in the Workplace website, this blog, and our Facebook and Twitter pages, as well as through various other outlets that support our work, such as MomsRising with their new website, the Custom-Fit Workplace. Our goal is to optimize the assistance and resources that we provide to businesses to implement programs, as well as to show the business benefits and transformation of the work culture that occur when babies start coming to work. We will then begin the next wave of simultaneous pilot programs in several companies in a range of industries and sizes. These pilot programs will be featured in a documentary by Chithra Jeyaram, a graduate student at the University of Texas, Austin, who is pursuing an MFA in film production. We are also going to start producing short online videos that show babies-at-work programs in action and that illustrate how highly-responsive parenting and the social network of the office result in happy babies who thrive in the workplace.

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
We are building a team to ensure that we can provide the best possible resources and assistance to expand babies-at-work programs (and, eventually, sustainable parenting-at-work programs for children of all ages). We are working with high-quality child development researchers and advocates to provide resources and information to parents about how to keep babies happy and healthy, and we will be providing comprehensive lactation support for mothers who want to nurse. We are going to start gathering survey information in baby-inclusive companies so that we have reliable data to combine with the tremendous anecdotal evidence of the benefits of babies-at-work programs for businesses and families. Every day, we will be updating our tally of baby-inclusive companies and babies hosted in the workplace. We also plan to work with our supporters to apply for a Pepsi Refresh grant in October to dramatically expand this movement (we’re still developing our plan for this).

But we need your help.  Here’s how you can get involved–we cannot do this without you:

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.

Ambrosha and River at HometownQuotes

Ambrosha and River at HometownQuotes

Babies-at-work programs and PIWI have been discussed in dozens of major media pieces in recent years, including the New York Times, National Public Radio’s Morning Edition, Time Magazine, People Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, NBC Nightly News, the Today Show, the Boston Globe, USA Today, Workforce Management, Redbook, and Inc. Magazine, among many others. As we show that we can successfully implement babies-at-work programs in large and small organizations of nearly every type, we expect that the publicity (and public awareness of the viability and benefits of babies at work) will expand dramatically.

We welcome your ideas on how we can more effectively expand our efforts, and we look forward to sharing this journey with you.

Carla Moquin
Founder and President
Parenting in the Workplace Institute
Photo: Adler at the Nevada State Health Division