Newcomers To Workplaces: Babies

Coming back to work after having a baby is always difficult. But what if moms and even dads could take their newborns with them to the office, and work with them right at their sides?

CBS News Correspondent Trish Regan reports that more and more companies are trying out that new twist on day care.

Companies such as Lissette Calderon's. As CEO of a $40 million real estate development firm, Calderon doesn't like to compromise. And, when she gave birth to her daughter Mia five months ago, Calderon didn't want to choose between being a full-time executive and a full-time mom. Instead, she chose both.

"I love every moment of being a mom and I love every moment of being a CEO, and I wasn't willing to give up either one," Calderon exclaims.

Every morning, Calderon packs up her baby, and her briefcase, and takes them both to the office. She has a crib and changing station just feet from her desk. Between conference calls and closing deals, this working mom is rocking her baby to sleep.

How does she get her work done?

"Oh, you know what her nap times are, and there's a routine," Calderon explains. "But I'm a lot more comfortable knowing that she's two feet away than thinking she's in another house far away from me."

That, says Regan, is why Calderon says she doesn't feel guilty about working long hours. Still, fitting in mommy-time means making the most of every moment.

"Some people choose to go out and smoke a cigarette for 10 minutes. I choose to go and take a stroll for five minutes with her. I mean, I can stay here as long as I want because I have her here and I'm bonding with her."

And today's working mothers say bonding with their babies is a top priority, Regan notes. That's why so many of them drop out of the work force when they have kids.

In an effort to win them back, more and more companies are offering the best of both worlds, by allowing babies in the office.

"Companies are letting people, encouraging people to bring their babies to work, because it makes business sense," says Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute. "It's not a perk. It's something that helps them keep and develop, and in fact encourage, the best performance out of people who they value."

At CDG, a consulting firm in Dallas, employees can bring babies to work until they're six months old. It's a policy executives say has boosted productivity and profitability.

CDG Vice President Deborah Driskill says, "We can keep the key employees, very valuable employees, and our employees can be happier."

Since the company began the policy, four moms and one dad have set up nurseries in their offices.

Manager Cyndi Rose says she was able to come back to work with her daughter Jillian just days after giving birth. She even brought her baby to board meetings.

And what if she's in such a meeting and the baby starts crying and screaming?

"You do one of two things: You either excuse yourself or, inevitably with me, someone would always come, someone in the office would say, 'I hear the baby crying.' …You have built-in baby-sitters."

What do co-workers think about baby-sitting on the job?

"I'm the nanny, the CDG nanny at duty," observes executive assistant Kristi Eakin, who doesn't have kids of her own but, at the office, sometimes cares for two babies at once.

"Isn't this more than you signed up for, though, when you said you were going to be an assistant, and all of a sudden, you're baby-sitting?" Regan asked.

"No, not at all," Eakin responded. "It brings that human element to the workplace."

Do any employees complain about having to baby-sit at work, with such gripes as, "Why should I have to watch someone else's child when they're on a phone call?"

Answered Driskill: "We've never had that. The employees actually fight over who gets to watch the baby. We have a wait list of who gets to watch a baby at any time."

For now, Calderon leaves her baby with a nanny when she's out of the office, but even that might change.

Says Calderon: "The next thing is the (construction) job site. So, we're working on a little mini-hardhat for her, and soon enough you'll see her out there at the job site."

Calderon adds that having a baby at work is exhausting: It doesn't leave her any free time during the day. But, she says, it's worth it to have her daughter so close.

Even men in the office give a thumbs-up to having babies there, Regan says: "Apparently, they love it. Executives told us it's often the single bachelors who are first to volunteer to baby-sit.

It's important to note: The companies that allow babies tend to have smaller staffs, and almost all are run by women.

What should women do who want to bring their baby to work, but whose employers don't have such a policy?

Experts say you shouldn't be afraid to ask. Companies know they have to be more family-friendly to keep their employees, and many allow babies in the office on a case-by-case basis.

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