Babies In The Office Review: Whaaaa?!

July 16, 2012 by  
Filed under Reviews

BABIES IN THE OFFICE: Monday 16th July, BBC2, 7pm

The cost of childcare is astronomical. For a child under two, it’ll set you back more than £5,000 a year. With families already facing tough cutbacks and rising bills, it’s a cost many will struggle to bear. In some cases, it may even work out cheaper for a parent to give up work altogether and look after their child full time. Addison Lee – the UK’s largest minicab company – is trialling a new model of childcare imported from the States; allowing employees to have their children with them at their desk. Yup.

It’s a damning indictment of the state of childcare in this country that we are having to consider schemes from America, where paid maternity leave isn’t even a legal right. The problem is that Babies in the Office is lacking any real insight. Ask a group of friends what they think are the likely benefits and problems of having infants in the workplace, and they’ll map out at least half this episode for you. The occasional academic will pop up to tell you what the theoretical benefits of the scheme are, but they don’t seem to add up to much more than “won’t do the baby much harm?.

The documentary’s also a bit quick to dismiss the quite legitimate concerns of those workers who don’t want babies screaming down their phones during important business calls. There is a particularly patronising dismissal of the (predominantly male) sales team. You can, however, introduce some much needed entertainment to the piece by assuming every use of the word “mothers? is meant in the Samuel L. Jackson sense, e.g. “Let’s see what we can do for these mothers?.

Childcare is a serious issue and even Fifty Shades of Grey can’t properly tackle the stifling effect it is having on birth rates. But whilst it needs to be discussed, sadly it’s a very boring discussion and this is very boring TV. Babies in the Office offers no insight and adds little to the debate. The true success of the scheme can only be judged across a wider timeframe than that offered in this first episode. There is a second episode on Tuesday night, but it’s doubtful how many will want to plough on with it after this. Now I feel like crying.

Follow Michael on Twitter..

Karen says:

It concerns me that this is all about childcare costs (I know they are expensive!). But to me it loses sight of the child. It may seem ideal that babies are ‘with’ their parents day to day but from what I have seen from the programme babies are given little opportunity to move around, explore and ‘develop’. Sitting in a car seat for many hours while the parent is busy going about their work is surely not good for a child’s development. We have the Early Years Foundation Stage in the UK, which childcare practitioners follow to ensure that children are getting the best experiences so they can grow and develop. Of course parents know their children best, but surely these are not healthy environments for growing babies.

Shaheen says:

Hi I realy like keep baby’s in the office it’s good IDE

Manticore says:

I’d be livid if I had to deal with kids while I’m trying to work. That’d be a good signal it was time to job hunt on the side.

Babe says:

am a mother of 2 daughters. I believe having a baby in the office is not a good idea and it would not work.

I work for my husband, I started working when my elder daughter was 5 weeks old. She has no problems at all until she turned 1 year old. She was crawling and walking around the office. One afternoon, she grabbed a cup a tea which I just made for my husband pouring it over her face, neck and chest all because we were not quick enough to grab it.

After that moment, we had no choice but to find child care for her at 15th months for 2 full days a week. Our second daughter also goes to the same nursery when she turned 15th month on 2 full days a week.

I help my husband to run his company. Having children in the office really does not work and is not productive at all. The only time I had to work was when they were having a nap.

One think I would say, if the nursery (child care) cost was to be slashed in half e.g. one day £25 all in, it would be great help for the nation.

You can see some of the child care accounts making profit during economy down turn. Also, one of the nurseries opened 2 extra nurseries in different road. Why???

earlybird says:

Enjoyed the programme,and have been a long term working mother through necessity not choice, but appreciate the dilemmas and practical difficulties that bringing children into the workplace on a daily basis could bring. As a grandma of several kids who have been, and continue to be(through necessity) shunted through childcare, I have to ask why, as a society, we can’t appreciate the needs of our valuable workforce. Most parents work because they HAVE to not because they WANT to! How’s this for supporting your workforce? – a headteacher who does not permit her staff to bring their children into school after hours or during holidays, because of ‘safeguarding’- none of the schoolchildren are there and staff could use this time to carry out tasks that they can’t do during the day all for the benefit of the kids and school as a whole. Very far sighted and supportive- I don’t think!

Steademan says:

Great concept but honestly how impractically set- up!
I am a teacher and we have many colleagues off on maternity leave or paying a third to half of their full- time wage on child care.
Our idea is to use a disused classroom, fitted it out for babies and toddlers and between the teachers, split the bill on child- care.
Makes perfect sense for quality time, breast feeding, economics and childhood development.
However, no go-
Surely all work places should offer child care space-
they get to keep their experienced staff- less maternity pay to pay out, staff are happier, family life is less stressful, employment for childminders more structured and salaries go further which can only be beneficial for the economy.
Is this too hard to see?

Poi says:

Europe’s pity is that for the last 20 years we’ve been ruled by an elite that just like the American liberal regime of Bush and Romney dont care about society but just about enriching a very few members. The cheaper the labour, the more abused the workers the greater the profit.

Where in Europe has adequate childcare been put in place?
Scandinavia only and they have normal birth rates there. The rest of Europe has low birth rates because big business and its cronies in power would rather the elite got richer than help families afford to have kids.

Welcome to the modern incarnation of capitalism. Oh for the days of controlled capitlism when societal good was also important.