What do babies have to do with labels?
Babies at work?
Full disclosure, I am writing this at my desk, while I have one foot sticking out trying to rock a baby to sleep in a vibrating baby rocker. She doesn’t want to sleep, she wants to play, so we need to find another activity, and still get some work done.
The Backstory: Baby Savannah was born 10 weeks early weighing just 1 pound, 15 ounces, I spent my entire maternity leave alongside her in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) while she grew stronger. Sixty-six days later, she was released… and I was out of vacation time. Returning to my job of almost 10 years was the plan all along, but leaving such a tiny baby behind was definitely not part of that plan. Most daycares won’t accept a child that is really only the equivalent age of a one week old, so what was I to do?
Thankfully, EIM loves not only our label experts, but their families as well. Our vice-president, Heather Bell, decided to look into possible options for my predicament. She knew of another local company, W. S. Badger, who had already implemented a program to help new parents have more options. Heather got in contact with the folks over there and they pointed her towards some helpful resources at babiesatwork.org. After conducting some research and discussions with management, our Babies-at-Work pilot program was launched!
Having a baby at work presents some challenges, after all, marketing labels and raising children are both important. However, babies aren’t exactly known for their patience. It took some creativity to figure out the best way to get work done at the same time as keeping baby happy. For example, I’ve perfected the art of feeding Savannah while still being able to use the computer. I’ve spent many meetings standing up and walking around the room bouncing her in a wrap to keep her calm. When she’s not making it easy for me to get work done, we have a designated baby holder who helps us out. Luckily for us, she is a fairly happy baby, so keeping her entertained isn’t too difficult. I love being able to have her with me, just glancing over and seeing her play while I work makes me smile. She seems to uplift other employees as well and my coworkers have said how she helps them stay calm and reduces their stress levels. The biggest benefit to EIM is that she has brought people together. We have plenty of visitors to our “baby office”, mostly just to say a quick hello. As an added bonus, she is the perfect ice breaker for vendor and customer visits because, well, “why is there a baby here?” can really get the conversation going!
I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity to progress my career, as well as bond with my child while she is small. More companies should give this a try as it benefits the whole company, not just baby and parent. In our Vice President’s words, “In addition to having a very adorable co-worker at EIM for a few months, the company also received the benefit of retaining a high value employee. I also think having Savannah join us improved both morale (people expressed to me that they liked working for a company that would try a Babies at Work program), and overall retention. I know one concern was the possibility of a baby being a distraction, but managers reported to me that – other than a few hellos and goodbyes every day – the presence of a baby did not significantly disrupt the workplace. From what I saw, people were actually more willing to get up from their desks and have face-to-face contact when Savannah arrived.” Because of the success of the pilot program, Babies at Work is now an official company policy. Savannah and I are happy to have opened the door for other future little label experts!
They say it takes a village to raise a child, and EIM is part of our village. Savannah is a loved member of the EIM family, so now as her time being a baby at work comes to a close, she will definitely be back to visit her own personal label experts!