March 31, 2008, - 12:55 pm

Dumbest New Workplace Trend

By Debbie Schlussel
**** SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATE ****
I’ve previously written about the absurdity of employees being allowed to bring their pets to work. Now, the latest trend is for people to bring their babies to their offices.
We’re not talking about on-site daycare–which is bad enough. This is about mothers (and fathers) having their babies sit at their desks and inside their physical offices and cubicles. And it’s equally as absurd as the pet thing. It’s completely unprofessional. If you must have your baby next to you, maybe you should think about staying at home to raise it.
Try conducting business with a screaming or crying baby around the corner. And try having an employee be productive when her/his baby is sitting there wanting food, a diaper change, or some other form of attention.

babymotheratwork.jpg

I’m not sure how accurate the article is because it’s written by USA Today’s resident fabricator, Stephanie Armour (why she still has a job in “journalism” I’ll never know, especially since Jayson Blair is gone):

At the T3 advertising firm in Austin, employees have a saying: It takes an agency to raise a child. [DS: Gee, that's original. Remember Hillary Rodham Cankles Clinton's book, "It Takes a Village"?]
The $261 million company, whose clients include Marriott International, Microsoft and J.C. Penney, lets a new parent bring his or her baby to work – every day – until the child is old enough to crawl.
Almost 50 babies have spent their infancy in the office beside their mothers or fathers, who generally tote in baby swings and playpens to set up makeshift nurseries. Some parents even take infants to meetings in BabyBjorn strap-on carriers.
It’s not as unusual as it may sound. More than 80 companies across the nation allow babies in the workplace, according to Parenting in the Workplace Institute in Framingham, Mass. . . .
The number of companies allowing children at work on an occasional basis climbed to 29% last year, up from 22% in 2006, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. . . .
But the practice – a big step beyond the day care centers that began popping up in workplaces more than 20 years ago – continues to grow. Employers allowing workers to bring babies to work each day include retail companies, insurance firms, law offices and credit unions. In such arrangements, parents typically keep their children at their desks.
At T3, new parents are offered private offices. The babies are allowed to come to work daily until they are mobile, usually around 9 months old.
The perk isn’t just for working mothers: 10 fathers at T3 have participated. Toys that one parent used often are passed to other new moms and dads returning to work with their babies, company spokeswoman Courtney Layton says.
“It’s been fun,” she says. “You can’t be in a bad mood when there is a baby there.”

Um, I beg to differ.
**** UPDATE: Reader GS send this pic and writes:

Deb-
Hey……. what’s the big deal…..Airline Pilots can take their kids to work‚Ķ‚Ķ???

kidsatworkairplane.jpg

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18 Responses

This falls right in line with the “bring your child to work” day. At our company we have maybe 1/2 of the people who do this yearly ritual, which those of us who have kids call “dump your work on me because you have kids day”. The day is a total farce, and does nothing but decrease moral with those of us who do not have kids and have to pick up the slack for those who do. It is always fun to see a mother of a 1 month old bringing her daughter to work, so the daughter can witness what mommie does all day.

NOTAFIB on March 31, 2008 at 2:09 pm

I think this is a great idea! Too often we place work above parenting. But this allows new parents to spend as much time with their child in a very immportant formative phase. I would like to see more companies do this and I think that all people should be more supportive of parents and tolerant of children.

PrincessKaren on March 31, 2008 at 2:37 pm

If you are in a job where you have a private office and can still get your work done, then why not? If the work is conducive towards it, it is better than not being with your child. Shoot, most infants sleep more than 50% of the time anyway. However, there is no way I could have done my job or any of my previous jobs with one of my kids in tow. An infant is too much attention and work, for me at least. But I know some people that can do thirteen things at once (I’m not one of them). If you don’t have a private office, it is a distraction for others.
Hey NOTAFIB, bring your child to work day is up to the employer. If they see fit to do it, its their decision. You probably tell all the kids there’s no Santa too. Butch up, it is only one day. I’ve never brought my kids in, but don’t resent those that do. If you one day have children, you might understand its value. But then again, reading your post, maybe its best you don’t.

Staypositive on March 31, 2008 at 3:13 pm

OH the child police are in full force on Debbie’s board. While I attack nobody in particular, “Staypositive” has decided to attack me and my ability to have a child. Maybe “Staypositive” would like to follow his or her cute little name and “Staypositive” and not judge others? BTW I have a masters degree in engineering and have worked since I was 15, so I do believe I can determine if I am fit to have a child or not. And if your child sleeps 50% of the time, the other 50% you are not doing your job to its fullest and you are a liability. So Butch it up and quit work if you want to have kids, or maybe you shouldn’t…..

NOTAFIB on March 31, 2008 at 3:23 pm

I remember a couple of years ago an administrator brought in his 8 year old son. To a prison! He thought it would be a good idea to dress him just like he dressed. White shirt and tie. Pedophiles are known to seek kids dressed like adults. Great.
Then there’s the work they dump on coworkers with no regrets.
How about these goofs that bring a baby to the movies. No biggy? How about the 11pm showing of Legend? Still no big deal? How about a nice restarant like Red Lobster. I’m sitting there with a baby right behind me screaming at the top of her lungs with the islamic dressed mom and dad just carrying on like no baby is screaming. The other three kids are carrying on too but the baby is SCREAMING. WE MOVED. I’ve got a son of my own and was a lot smarter when he was a baby.

samurai on March 31, 2008 at 3:29 pm

Doesn’t seem like too many production or engineering companies though. Would anyone really want to buy an appliance that was made by people whos kids were running (crawling) around yowling and screaming and distracting them and everyone else around?
What if bridge-builders or airplane manufacturers brought their kids to work, or people who really made things, not just service companies where they often don’t do very much anyway?

c f on March 31, 2008 at 4:21 pm

What insanity!
I know this is not politically correct but I don’t like the public breastfeeders, either.

lexi on March 31, 2008 at 4:40 pm

FIB, sorry but you are fibbing. You are particularly attacking people that bring their children to work and are judging others in doing so. You open yourself up to criticism. Working since you are fifteen and possessing an advanced degree in engineering may qualify you for a job, but not parenting. You can have a GED and have never worked and be a great parent, or a Doctorate in child psychology and be a lousy one. And yeah, I don’t presume to know much about you from a one paragraph post, but the attitude comes through real clear.
As for the child police, please. I’m on board with what DS and samurai posted about distractions. And I agree that screaming kids can ruin an outing for dinner or disrupt a workplace. My point is that if a worker produces what I expect of them, and they have the luxury of a private office, why not let the kid benefit from the parent and vice versa?
I also agree with you on one thing, a baby on “child-to-work-day” is bull, that’s not the purpose of the day. With employers it is partially a civic motivation to expose kids to positive roles in the workplace and to provide a benefit for a parent to educate their child. I understand and recognize the value of it even if I don’t participate. Obviously the company has to weigh the employee appreciative of the opportunity to show their work to their child versus the one grousing about the great burdens they suffered that day.
c f, I wouldn’t recommend bringing an infant to a manufacturing plant either. When I was a kid I did go with my dad (masters in engineering) to his place of work, a major defense contractor, on family day several times, along with many other children. Seems to me his company did just fine, both in service to the country and financially. The weapons systems his team developed and impproved have been proven in combat again and again. Many of his colleagues’ children (my friends) subsequently became engineers themselves. These things work in the end.
Bottom line (for me), if they can complete the assignments without disrupting the workplace, fine, if not, the kid goes home.

Staypositive on March 31, 2008 at 5:14 pm

Unfortunate that you brought up the example of defense industries, the ultimate boondogle. While I support a strong national defense, and respect the companies that are producing the weapons that defend us, the defense industry is plauged by fraud and overruns. We all remember the $600 hammers and toilet seats and their successors. The dollar amount of virtually every major defense contract is revised upwards and upwards, again and again. And why not? The taxpayers pay for it.
Although there are many positive aspects of the defense industry, one very negative impact is that since the Government is such a major customer, it dictates a lot of the day-to-day working conditions and policies, including just about every new politically correct notion that the Govt. bureaucrats can come up with. I sure wouldn’t want to fly a flghter jet made by someone in a work area where kids were distracting me. Who knows what goes on in a private office? Behind closed doors bureaucrats can talk with their girl/boy friends all day long, or whatever else they do.
If the defense industry has the govt. for a long-term customer, especially if it is the only company that knows how to produce something, it can get away with all kinds of inefficiency because the Govt has nowhere else to turn to. Reported every day in the papers.

c f on March 31, 2008 at 6:02 pm

c f. I agree with a lot of your comments on the defense industry, in particular that the taxpayer was getting fleeced on the toilet seats, coffee maker, etc. Yes, I am a government employee but I can tell you that scenario was more the fault of government employees allowing it rather than applying scrutiny. If the bureaucrats had been doing their jobs properly, they could have questioned those price $500 price bumps for the monor modification of a $2 wrench. However, don’t forget the systems developed by our defense industry have enabled our technology to trounce the Russian and French versions wherever they were encountered in combat (Particularly in the middle east). As an example, how many countries use the F-16 as their primary fighter aircraft, when there are a plethora of choices?
I disagree with you though on the notion that government bureaucrats come up with politically correct notions. Those notions are developed by our elected politicians and their political appointees, and THEN put into place by bureaucrats. For example, the INS for years, and now ICE, has been beat up by many of the rules and laws that we must adhere to and enforce. But guess what? We didn’t right the laws or rules, just implemented and enforced them.
BTW, I don’t agree that government workers should ever get the “baby at work deal”. The taxpayers pay for your undivided attention. However, if a company decides to do it and thinks they can acomplish their mission, improve morale and retain workers (e.g., rather than having them take leave to stay with infants)then I think it is a good idea. And c’mon, no one is going to allow someone to have a child present while they’re building anything. This is a white collar concept.

Staypositive on March 31, 2008 at 6:57 pm

I am at the office, I see the baby coming for show and tell or the baby pictures, I know it is time to escape to the bathroom. I am like geez, who gives a damn about their kid. I like kids, but not everyone’s kid. I have seen people bring babys always to some woman as if she is suppose to say in high pitch voice, Oh How Cute as if she suppose to say that.

StuLongIsland on March 31, 2008 at 9:13 pm

Ironically, me thinks “Staypositive” is the most NEGATIVE poster on the DS Blog. Definitely the most “peculiar” member of her graduating class….Surely not a man?

ParaLyzer on March 31, 2008 at 10:04 pm

Oh, I’ve got stories…
1. I’m in my old office; roughly 15′ high X 25′ wide X 80′ long! It used to be an old storeroom I cleared out. Best office in the building when I finished with it. Anyway, I was scanning images for the archives when my computer lost power mid-scan. I naturally was upset and tried to get the stupid thing to work again. I found the problem in a 18 month old child holding the extention cord!
I got the computer back upa nd sent a buildwide memo that went something like, “Found. 1 toddler. please come to archives and retrieve. Thanks, bhparkman.” After TWO HOURS, the baby’s mother finally came to collect.
2. In the same office a few months later, I was deep in concentration doing my work. When one does archiving work, the mind looses it senses to the body’s surroundings, so naturally I was in the depths of melancholy. After finally breaking myself of the trance I turned to my right to find a young lady of 15 in my spare seat. She was the daughter of someone in finance who suggested she go to archives to be entertained. She had sat there for the last half hour watching me work! Creepy. I sent her out.
3. We normally get emails about people throughout the company who have kids and they attach photos. I got one from some department in regards to their kids’ performance in… something; I don’t remember. So they attached a weblink to a photo site where they posted the photos of their kid. It turned out the be one of those “modeling” websites for underage kids that specialize in barely legal images of children and teens. And yes – they posted up photos of their kid on this site. And they sent the link to everyone in the office!
My reaction: the office manager’s quote was the best, “I never thought a mormon could yell those kinds of profanities.”
Let work be work, and home be home.

bhparkman on April 1, 2008 at 12:33 am

HA HAA! That is pretty funny, “the most “peculiar” member of her graduating class….Surely not a man?”
I guess I should feel complimented to be thought of as a female from my writing, after all, we all come here to read DS. I will readily admit I am not that positive, but give me some credit, no way I am the most negative. I actually used that name to try and counter some of the posts that were about ICE last year. While agreeing our agency sucks, I think it could be be made better by the employees in it, the politicians and the public. Although with Julie Myers still leading the way it is hard to “stay positive”. I was just trying to make the best of a bad situation.
As to my demographic, I’ve revealed it here before: white, male, hetero-, under 50, married w/kids. IF and when I leave ICE I will out myself here. No one who knows me personally would be surprised at what I write, but wouldn’t mistake me for a woman either.
bhparkman-hillarious! But not everyone is an idiot like those co-workers you described. If done responsibly, I think it can work. But like anything else on here, it is just one MAN’s opinion. And mine don’t count for much.

Staypositive on April 1, 2008 at 12:50 am

I had a child when I was very young in my first marriage, and I would sometimes bring him by work on my days off if I had to pick something up (like my paycheck). I never brought him TO work though. I was proud of him and liked showing him off.
Fast forward a decade, I’m in a new marriage, and discover I have secondary infertility (the inability to have another child). Few people who have not gone through the cycle of hope and despair that is the infertility experience can understand its devastating impact. Failed expensive cycles and multiple miscarriages, daily grief. I could make judgments about whether to avoid attending events that involved children, BUT I HAD TO GO TO WORK. Work should be a safe and professional place for all employees. On occasion I had coworkers who brought their babies in to work with them the entire day, and we had cubes, not offices, so the noise was outrageous and it was even worse to have to listen to a long line of admirers coming by to make a fuss about the baybeeeeeee.
In retrospect, I only hope that I never caused anyone any pain by drawing inordinate attention to my child on my short visits to the office. Everyone has the right to live their life and enjoy their blessings without being overly concerned with those less fortunate, but in my opinion, bringing your children to work is completely unprofessional and over the top, particularly because other coworkers have no choice but to put up with that nonsense. If you are that conflicted, maybe your conscience is trying to tell you something: stay home if you can swing it financially, and raise your children.

AmericanJewess on April 1, 2008 at 2:14 am

Jerry Brown started this in the 70′s. The Secretary/eceptionist had her infant with her, and took time outs for breast feeding. The pungent odor of used diapers often greeted people coming to meet with the Gov.

xroadcop on April 1, 2008 at 11:16 am

In my line of work I would certainly not expose my kid to it. I deal with criminals and social derelicts, dopers, and pukes! She’ll have her whole life to be exposed to these cretins so why decimate her childhood?

1shot1kill on April 1, 2008 at 12:03 pm

Deb, as a teacher, I fail to see the distinction.. one more fussy baby in the class room among 50 or 60 frat boys ctying , whining. laughing outrageously and throwing up from an all weekend keg party in physics 101 is immaterial isn’t it? :D

Mistress_Dee on April 3, 2008 at 1:09 pm

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