It might not be what you had planned, and it probably isn’t something you want to do every day but, if you’re fortunate enough to have a family-friendly employer, taking your baby to work is a viable option. Telecommuting means you can combine the dual responsibilities of parenthood and your career while staying at home, but there might be occasions when you just have to go into the office, with baby in tow. To help you, and your colleagues, handle the experience, here are a few words of wisdom. Along with some issues you’ll need to carefully consider before you take your baby to work with you.
1.Be A Prepared Parent
If parenthood has taught you anything, it is to be prepared before you go anywhere with your baby. Going into work with your little one is no exception, and probably requires even more preparation given that your workplace is also going to be ‘home’ for an extended period of time. This means taking everything with you to ensure baby stays happy while you work. If your baby will be coming to work with you on a regular basis, it might be easier to buy two of each item and leave one at work. This might be a little more expensive, but many parents find it easier to do this rather than haul bags of baby accessories into the office, and home again. Besides, if you lose one item at home, you know where to find a spare!
2. The Vexed Question Of Breastfeeding
Some of your colleagues might not embrace the notion of breastfeeding in the boardroom, and indeed you might feel a little uncomfortable with feeding in the workplace. Breastfeeding in any public area remains a sensitive issue. Your family-friendly workplace might offer a dedicated space for breastfeeding, or you might have your own office where you can lock the door and enjoy complete privacy. If you’re not able to nurse in a private space, invest in a good breastfeeding cover and create your own privacy.
3. Napping On The Job
Privacy for your baby is also a consideration when it’s time to put them down for a nap. Your workplace might offer a quiet area for sleeping, or your own office might become an at-work bedroom. However, if your workplace is normally a noisy environment, and you struggle to establish a sleep routine, you will really need to think twice about bringing baby to work and look at leaving your little one in childcare on occasion.
4. Think Of Your Colleagues
Most of your colleagues will enjoy the experience of having a baby in the workplace, and there’ll be no shortage of workmates wanting a cuddle. However, as you’ll be only too aware, there is still work to be done and your colleagues have the right to get about their daily tasks without too much of a disruption. Expecting them to take over babysitting duties while you attend an important meeting or take a phone call might be stretching the friendship! And the noise of a crying baby might not be music to their ears. Before you bring your baby to work…before even have your baby!…discuss this with your colleagues and find out how they feel about sharing their workspace with a very, very junior colleague.
5. They Play While You Work
As your baby gets older, their need for socialisation and entertainment increases. As you go about your work, it is not practical or productive to drop everything to give your baby your hours of attention whenever they demand it. Therefore, it is vital that baby is kept amused, distracted, and happy! Invest in quality toys, as multi-dimensioned as possible, that keep them occupied when they become restless. The more the merrier is definitely the key here. Sure, it might cost a little more, but it is a small price to pay if you want to keep baby happy while you work.
6. Is It Worth It?
Taking baby to work has its advantages. On a practical level, it can save you hundreds of dollars in childcare costs, and allows you to return to work earlier. More importantly, it can keep the bond between you and baby strong. But, as you’ve read, there are things to consider. Your employer might be happy for you to bring junior into the workplace, but do your colleagues share that enthusiasm? Is there a quiet space to encourage a good sleep routine? How do you cope when baby is sick, or when they’re going through teething? Before you take baby to work, think through all these considerations and make sure the situation works for both of you!