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March 4, 2013

Creches at Workplaces

No one knows it better than a working woman that how difficult it is to balance work and home. And it becomes all the more difficult when she has a baby to look after. The infant needs her; and her work load demands her attention just as much. How to manage?


The challenges one has to face


The modern social structure is heavily tilted towards nuclear families – a husband, wife and their children live in a household, with no other relatives around. While this pattern has its own advantages, there is a very strong drawback: there is no support system or backup at all. If both members of the couple are working, who takes care of the children, let alone do the household chores? And what happens when either of them are delayed at work on a particular day or is required to travel? - The challenge escalates when such situations arise with a working mother.


Indeed those who have the support of in laws, or parents, or any other relative to take care of the children are lucky damsels. Some ladies are lucky enough to find a reliable house maid or governess who can look after the child well even in the absence of anyone at home.


The drawbacks of a having a relative at home is that there could be some unpleasant experiences of verbal conflicts, nose poking, illness, etc. On the other hand, a maid at home gets to spend more time with the child than the parents and the kid becomes attached to them more than its actual family. The maid may be from a “not so polished background”, and may teach some undesirable habits to the child. She may ill treat the baby or steal valuable items: the issues are many.


Instances when women are forced to take a break from work to look after their children have become common owing to the above issues. And some can never return to the working life after that.  


Creches


Creches have naturally come in demand where one may leave the child after school and pick him up after work. Although this is a solution that works, there are multiple issues like the children being made to sleep under the effect of sedatives, not taken proper care of, etc. Moreover, there are timings by when one has to pick up her ward.


Thus, a working lady is hardly at peace even if her child is at a crèche. Her concerns do not let her concentrate on her assignments either. She is compelled to contemplate resigning for her job to take care of her child.


Creches at workplace


This is perhaps the best solution an organization can offer to a female employee – she is permitted to bring her child to work. Its not that she can have the child at her desk, but at a designated place in the office premises itself. This way, the child remains in close proximity to its mother and she can visit him during breaks or whenever there is a need. At the end of the day, the twosome of Mother and Child can return home.


This is a win win situation for both the employee and the employer. The convenience of having your children close by helps a lady concentrate on her work and keep a watch on the child at the same time. She has inner peace, and also develops a goodwill for the company she works with. When there are children of other women too in the “crèche at office”, they can be taken care of by either woman in turns. Thus, the children not only get the opportunity to play with other kids, but are also well cared for. They can also complete their homework under the supervision of either their mother or her colleagues.


On the other side of the coin, the company does not lose a valuable employee or human resource due to familial issues. Instead of a dent in the talent pool, the employees are happy, who in turn, lay the foundation for success of the organization. With more and more women joining the workforce every year, crèches at offices are becoming the need of the hour. Increasing costs of living have also forced women to take up jobs to support their families, and this initiative have helped women to consider a working career for herself.


Also, the image of the company that provides crèche facilities improves in the industry as well as prospective employees – it is portrayed as a “women-friendly” organization.


Some success stories


Ernst & Young, IBM, Hindusthan Unilever, HCL, Polaris, Impetus Infotech, Novartis, Tanishq, etc have a large share of female employees. Just imagine if one of them had to leave due to look after their children – it would have been a great loss. With crèche facilities at work, women feel more comfortable and can concentrate on their work - in turn, their productivity at work is enhanced. Their needs of looking after the children are also fulfilled. Plus, a more hygienic and personalized care can be assured for the child in this way.


This is also a problem faced regularly in schools when the female teachers are compelled to resign to look after their families – and there is a shortage of female staff. So schools such as DPS, Mother’s International, etc have come up with day care facilities where a child spends some time after school. Thus, a faculty can concentrate on her classes and oversee her child in gaps between her classes.


Is it recommended?


Companies should seriously consider having crèche facilities integrated with office premises. Especially in industries that involve flexible work hours or long drawn stretches, the employees do not have to be tensed about the well being of their wards. And it does not help the women alone, but also the men. There is a cost involved in building suitable infrastructure, but it is worth every penny invested – happy employees shall lead to better productivity, and thus, better financial performance! 

Tags : Creche, Daycare, Productivity

About Anupama

A Transport Planner and Architect, Anupama has been blogging for about six years now. She has taken up professional content writing for the last two years, and can always be contacted for any assignments or queries. Her strength is original presentation of any topic.