Creating a baby friendly office that increases productivity for the whole team
Family is everything. We work hard for our customers so that we can provide comfort and opportunity for our loved ones. Every team I’ve had the privilege of leading I’ve heard the same feedback, “Carin, we love what we do but we all just want to spend more time with our families.” I heard it loud and clear.
We’ve made great strides in office accessibility and openness in the past decade for our four legged friends but what about our greatest asset? I made it a priority to host gatherings for all the families on my teams. Twice a year we pick a Saturday and rearrange the office for a floor-wide family camp out. We organize activities for all ages (the speed typing contests are always a hit with the slightly older kids). My goal as a leader is to blow open the curtains to what our next generation’s parents do for a living. If we’re going to improve the quality of life for all people on this planet we need our families to see the ins and outs of our work environment. You just never know who’s going to have the next great idea.
Dogs, Babies, and Spreadsheets, oh my!
I’m a strong advocate of paid maternal and paternal leave, even going as far as making it mandatory for my direct reports. The bonding time with a newborn infant is irreplaceable. But what happens after those few months of paid leave? One of the initiatives I’ve been most proud of is an open-door policy for bringing children to work. Too long we’ve siloed family members into company picnics, work-sponsored day care, and twice yearly ‘take your kid to work days. We’ve extended the respect to our fur babies for years that it felt barbaric to keep our human babies away from the office. I eliminated this barrier for my team and it has been a resounding success.
New parents have now been able to enjoy even more quality time with their infants and toddlers. There is the added strain of feeding times, child monitoring, and limited conference calls during designated nap times but I firmly believe with the proper prioritization we can manage the great benefits we pioneer and become a shining example of what we can achieve as a complete work family.
How a baby in the boardroom relieves tension and drives results
My first child was a miracle baby. After limited success for years my partner and I had a successful conception that was the pinnacle of joy that year. I was torn between my career and my first born facing a compromised all too familiar to mothers who love their work. As my maternity leave was winding down I was distraught over the idea of not being able to be a completely present mother. Coming back into a new team I realized I had an opportunity to set a precedent that would help not only me but the young parents I lead. Meeting with the board of directors in my first week back I went into the boardroom with my laptop in one hand, coffee in the other and a baby swaddled to my chest. The looks I got would have sent me into labor months earlier. It wasn’t obvious how I was going to lead us through the next round of funding but believe me people will pay attention when you start breastfeeding at the head of the table. Nothing makes you prioritize more than when your offspring is right with you on the journey to your best quarter yet.