Not the Perry Mason Show

March 6, 2024

I don't recall ever seeing a baby in Perry Mason's office...

Our startup company had some very complex legal issues. We needed the best ERISA legal mind(s) on our team. The owner knew a good attorney, and she was on maternity leave from a large financial services company. We reached out to her to see if she would consult for us, while on leave. Her employment agreement would not allow it. However, she also had no plans to return to full time work and her company was requiring her to return to the office. We were very budget constrained, and could only offer her 16 hours per week at the equivalent of half her hourly pay. But what we could do was support her working from home. 80-90% of the time. And she would need to come to the office a couple of times per month.

She agreed. All outside attorney meetings were scheduled around her schedule. (Which really meant the needs of her 6 month old twins.) This worked great while she was home. However, on her first scheduled day in the office, she brought her twins to work. 

Wow, it was hard to believe she did that, proving one should never ask permission whenever possible. After much discussion, she continued to work while they slept. And when they woke, she took care of them. Yes, there were some times where everyone in the office could hear a baby (or 2) crying. At the end of the day we realized, this worked. Radically well. It might have accelerated a couple of employee exits who did not support a "baby-first" culture.  

We had the best, BEST, ERISA attorney on our team. Just by giving the flexibility to work around whatever schedule she needed. And soon she decided to get home baby care on her office days, but she knew bringing them to work was an option. And that option made all of the difference in the world. 

A crying baby with a nearby Mom is no big deal. Somehow, Mom's make it work. 

And while virtual work is still the optimal way to ensure maximized productivity, offices should also be designed to support childcare needs. Even babies. 

Late last year we were looking at new office space. The layout had large window offices, and an open area that seemed to design itself for setting up a daycare. Small modular rooms could be built with a crib, Looking something like a sleeker version of this.60" X 108" X 89" SMALL PARTS INSPECTION ROOM WITH SLIDING DOOR AND OVERHEAD LIGHT QP7765 ( Each with its own air filtering system. To minimize the chance of spreading diseases, the worst part of putting children into preschool care. Glass doors and baby monitors Nanit Pro Smart Baby Monitor | Tracks Sleep and Breathing would ensure eyes on the babes at all times. Babies sleep most of the day anyway, but maybe hire one person to assist in individual childcare. A crying baby would be a priority interrupt for a Mom, the support person would back Mom up.

I think it is time we redefine the term "working Mom" into "Mom working". And build the office environment to support that. Flip the priority here, Mom first. Work second. 

It is surprising that no one is doing this now. Or if you know of anyone who is doing this, please reach out. I want to know more about it. As we did not move to the new office, and we have no Mom's now with babies But when we do, this is the plan. 



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