Employees are not simply workers as they are people with personal lives. In fact, it is their personal lives which often help motivate them as employees and give them the diverse experiences they need to bring new ideas into the workplace. Recognizing the impact of personal lives on the workplace forces employers to consider ways of satisfying the personal commitments of employees in order to promote workplace productivity. As such, the benefits and drawbacks of offering childcare in the workplace must be considered.
When employees feel valued and appreciated, they work to live up to standards more often than not. Offering childcare shows women, and men, they are valuable enough to deserve the convenience of having an onsite babysitter. Although not all employees are as equally critical to business operations, management does need a solid workforce. Showing loyalty to employees is one way of ensuring the loyalty of workers while supporting their family life means they will be more likely to support the company.
At the same time, convenience is another major advantage for the individual employees and employers. When individuals have children, their priorities change and the demands of their professional lives may no longer be reasonable. Onsite childcare adds an extra incentive, so parents can chose their career and adhere to their work schedule. Finding quality childcare can be quite difficult, thus a workplace option offers parents a chance to meet their personal needs, check up on their children throughout the day, and be able to work with less separation anxiety.
The home life impacts the work environment from the emotional baggage employees bring with them to being late due to an improperly set alarm. Failing to recognize this connection hurts the workplace environment, thus an in-house daycare may well fit nicely in many business environments. In addition, it can help reduce lateness and stress due to inconveniences while it can also alleviate separation anxiety. Plus, children in the workplace can add energy and cheer as well as give employees a reason to avoid aggressive, disruptive conflicts.
On the other hand, the biggest downside to onsite childcare is probably the costs associated with maintaining a daycare center. Putting a quality babysitter on the payroll can be very expensive while providing the proper facilities is also an issue that adds costs as most businesses are not setup for playtime. At the same time, there is a certain degree of liability on the business in case something happens to the children, i.e. injury or kidnappings. Addressing these liabilities, or failing to do so properly, can result in even greater costs.
Meanwhile, the work environment of many businesses may be disrupted by onsite childcare. Should a child wonder off or parents have an issue with the daycare, business activities could easily suffer while friction might arise between coworkers. Feuds between parents and with teachers could undermine the entire work environment. The relationships of children with their parents take priority, thus issues with coworkers’ children can bring an extra dimension of these employees’ personal lives into the workplace that might undermine the business.
In addition, having a child so close can be distracting to parents. Separation anxiety is often a major issue for parents who must work, yet would rather be at home. Blurring the line between work and home leaves parents further tethered to their children and job, especially when they can simply run down stairs to check up on them. In such cases, childcare in the workplace becomes a liability. At the same time, it can hurt the child’s social skills if parental intrusions constantly occur when they need to establish relationships with friends instead of waiting for their parents.
Some businesses are frankly unsuitable places for children while others can offer parents the convenience of in-house childcare services. Where a business cannot, it may be useful if employers help sponsor or startup a quality daycare near the workplace. Certainly, there are costs associated with daycares that may be very discouraging, but the benefits to the business can also be very significant. Moreover, the decision to offer childcare in the workplace must be a right fit for a business that should be reevaluated as often as necessary to ensure everyone’s needs are met.