Imagine an office where toddlers clamber onto knees during management meetings, toys litter the carpet and it’s fine to bottle-feed whilst on an important phone call. Does it sound like professional heaven, or the very definition of hell?It sounds like hell.
But could bringing baby to the office ever work for ordinary parents – and their colleagues? A bold experiment in one British firm, captured on film for a new documentary, looks set to find out.Well, there's a fucking surprise!
When Liam Griffin, managing director of cab firm Addison Lee, announced that he wanted to try letting some parents bring babies into his company’s London headquarters, staff were sceptical. “There were two camps: mothers were very enthusiastic about it, and those people without kids were massively unenthusiastic,” recalls Griffin.
Look, I find babies' whinging, crying and shouting pretty much intolerable on a ten minute train ride—why in god's name should I have to put up with it for eight hours at work too.
My job requires me to spend hours getting "into The Zone" and concentrating really hard (just one of the reason I so rarely blog these days): this kind of mental effort is difficult enough to sustain anyway, let alone having to do so with your damn kid screaming and wittering on for half the bloody day.
More practically, the scheme was a lifesaver for staff struggling with nursery fees of up to 80 a day – or forced into painful choices by the cost of childcare.For fuck's sake, my taxes pay for your child's education, its healthcare, your Child Tax Credits, your Child Allowance and it subsidises your childcare—how much more are you going to steal from me to fund your baby-bearing lifestyle choice?
“One girl wants to have a second child, but can’t afford to,” says Mitchell.I want a really expensive made-to-measure suit—but I can't have it because I can't fucking afford it. Why should having children be any different?*
“If we could help her, she’s going to be so loyal to us as a business.”Yeah? I bet the rest of your employees are already polishing up their CVs.
Or as Chris Snowdon tweeted:
cjsnowdonBut as long as the kiddies have "softened the mood" and everyone is happy in the land of unicorns and rainbows, who cares, eh?
Next time on Babies in the Office: Addison Lee goes into administration. #babiesintheoffice
More practically, the scheme was a lifesaver for staff struggling with nursery fees of up to £80 a day—or forced into painful choices by the cost of childcare.Having children is all about making hard choices. Actually, so is life.
Anyway, if only because the idea of watching a car-crash at a taxi firm amuses me, I might now go and find this programme on iPlayer.
*Oh, by the way, if my company decided that buying me the aforementioned really excellent suit would make me "so loyal to [them] as a business", the government would slap a whacking great tax on it as a benefit-in-kind.**
** Yes, yes: I know that there is probably some work clothing allowance of some sort. However, I bet it doesn't apply to really fucking expensive made-to-measure suits.