The Boston Globe ran an article about companies that are allowing their employees to bring their babies to work. I am a huge advocate for any kind of program that supports a working parent, even bringing baby to work. But many people wouldn't want to hear what I have to say. It's a hot topic for a lot of reasons. Let's take a look at a few.
People argue that the workplace is no place for an infant, however, there are plenty of children whose parents work at home and are, essentially, "in the office" all day. I think it's actually healthy for a baby to see what their parents do and be engaged in adult activity. Many people have the misconception that babies only do baby things. Babies actually want to be engaged in whatever the adults around them are doing. In some cases, people might be surprised to find that an infant could be calmer in an office than in a bouncy seat that's shaking and rocking them while waving swinging stuffed animals in their face.
Other people protest and say that it's unfair to those without children. This is like complaining about the smokers getting an extra 15 when the nonsmokers get none. Companies make accomadations for people's life choices and circumstances. If they didn't, no one would go to work. You smoke? Fine, take a break if that's what you need. Someone died? Take a day off, mourn, regroup. Feeling a bit under the weather? Go home and take care of yourself. Traveling for the holidays? Sure leave an hour early. Have kids to pick up? Ok, leave 10 minutes early so the daycare won't charge you $20 a minute for going over your 9 hours. But the exceptions and accomadations have to be for good reason. If in an emergency situation your daycare floods, you have a major deadline and half of your office is out sick, then bring baby to work. Your roommate stays out too late and forgets her keys at Whatshisnames place and is locked out of your place...tough cookies- no reason for her to come to work.
Another popular concern is that babies can be too distracting. I won't entirely disagree since I know that each baby is different. Some babies are sleepers, others criers, and yet others, constant happy screamers. But assuming baby is doing nothing more than cooing here and there at normal conversation level, it shouldn't be any more distracting than the annoying chick in the office who shares her weekend plans minute by minute, outfit by outfit. I'd love to tell her to shut it but I don't because I know she's entitled to talk to whoever, whenever she wants. Or the guy who loves to spend the first hour of Monday morning going over Sunday night's game. All as equally distracting as a baby keeping to him/herself.