(Warning: not safe for people who coo at baby pictures out loud)
Last week we welcomed our latest baby Rhizan to the workplace. It has been a while since we’ve have an adorable bundle of joy in the office. Seeing so many grown up Rhizans make funny faces and cooing noises at our latest little co-worker was a welcome change of pace-it’s just not the same when you do it to adults. Our baby Rhizan is officially part of the Quality Assurance team, just like his mother, and cannot wait for his chance to get to break things for fun too.
From the very beginning, Rhiza has been a baby-friendly office. We believe in the personal growth of our employees and have spent years perfecting our approach to babies in the workplace in support. Currently, only 2% of US businesses allow babies at work and just over a third offer on-site lactation rooms. We know we can do our part to support mothers and fathers welcome the newest member of their family.
Here are a few tips on what has worked for us over the years to help our employees transition back to work after the birth or adoption of a child:
Communicate acceptance. Let your employees know that it is ok to bring new babies to work. Most people would never dream of bringing their newborn to work, so you need to tell them, verbally and in writing, it is ok.
Set an age limit. We encourage new parents to bring in their newborns until they are 6 months old, since older kids are more mobile and have different needs.
Create appropriate space. It took us less than 15 minutes to move a rocking chair, small desk, a monitor and a pack ‘n play into a small conference room. Since we’re a small organization the room functions as a flexible, multi-use space. When it isn’t needed as a nursery, it is used for meetings, calls and work sessions. Most of the time parent and baby are working near their team, but every so often a separate space to nurse, pump, chill out or change diapers comes in handy.
Take pride in your baby-friendly workplace. Tell new recruits, customers and the press about how much your company loves babies and supports parents. Don’t be embarrassed that a customer might hear a baby in the background or a client might see a pack ‘n play.
Collaborate with your employees. Establish an open dialogue about what the new parent needs and how you can accommodate them. Three heads are better than one, especially when one is a tiny human head. Together you will come up with a creative solution that suits everyone.
Supporting new parents is the right thing to do for your employees and for the next generation. Parent and baby coworking makes it easier for new mothers to breastfeed longer, helps new fathers develop deeper bonds (yes, dads participate as well) and keeps awesome people in the workforce, advancing their careers.