The "Babies at Work" program was popularized by author and founder of the Parenting in the Workplace Institute Carla Moquin. Carla is committed to providing resources and education relating to parenting at work programs, and she has been instrumental in helping to develop Badger's approach to this complex issue.
In a New Hampshire Public Radio interview, Carla touched upon one of the most important aspects to the program's success: "These programs need to be treated like any other workplace policy, with clear guidelines. What the companies that have done this have found is that when they have rules in place to anticipate problems, they have very few problems and they can address those on a case-by-case basis." There are logistical challenges, but Carla imparts her experience and a network of over 125 baby-friendly businesses that support and help to bring together a policy that is best for baby, parent, and business.
The Boston Globe also featured Badger's Babies at Work program in their 2016 Top Places to Work issue.
Badger's Baby Policy
Badger co-founders Bill and Katie have been committed to this idea from the very beginning. To begin, Human Resource Coordinator Jay Smeltz contacted Carla Moquin and drafted a "Memo of Understanding," outlining Badger's Babies at Work Policy:
Sarah and her baby Heath
Ryon and his baby Willa
Abby and her baby Isla
Benefits and Concerns
Badger's experience thus far has been that the benefits far outweigh the concerns or inconveniences.
For the parent and child, the benefits include making breastfeeding easier and allowing for the inherent health benefits for both mother and child, enhanced bonding, lessening of daycare costs and more financial stability, great social network and extended-family support for both parent and child, and an easier transition in to off-site child care.
The benefits for Badger include having the mother back to work sooner (not needing to hire temps), morale-boosting, solidified employee commitment, and creating a whole new style of teamwork for the company. Badger, in a sense, creates its own "village" to support both parent and child.
Of course, there are concerns: concern for other employees’ environments, distraction, and possible favoritism, among others. That’s where Ms. Moquin’s experience and advice comes in handy. Badger approached these concerns head-on with the intention of addressing conflicts and concerns swiftly and decisively. The thought process was that we can try this with both feet on the ground and both eyes open.