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More Moms On The Job With Their Newborns

Updated: Wednesday, March 27 2013, 09:57 AM CDT

John Michaelson, Texas News Service

AUSTIN, Texas - The face of the workplace in America has been evolving for decades, and so have employers' policies around families, but some say they don't go far enough.

Joan Blades, co-founder and president of "Momsrising,"' said her organization's focus on building a more family-friendly nation includes the workplace where - in the companies at which it can be done safely and without disruption - she said mothers ought to be allowed to bring their newborns to work.

"It's a formalized agreement with your employer about how you can bring your baby to work for the first six months or crawling," she said. "It's worked out in all sorts of workplaces. It's wonderful for worker retention and loyalty. It creates a good community for a lot of workplaces."

Baby-at-work programs are starting to be offered by companies around the world. In the United States, it's estimated that every day, more than 2,000 infants now accompany a parent to the job.

The debate over family-friendly workplaces has heated up recently with Yahoo! CEO Marissa Meyer telling her workers who have flexible arrangements that they could no longer work from home - while she had a nursery built for her newborn son next to her office.

Businesses who take away flexibility from their workers are taking a step backwards, said Blades. It will hurt the bottom line, she said, because it really comes down to productivity and goals reached, which can't be measured simply by time spent at the office.

"We have decades now of research that show flexibility and telework contribute to business success," she said. "When you give that kind of responsibility to the people working, you actually have much better employee performance and better retention and ultimately a more resilient and effective organization."

Blades will discuss more in depth the push for more family-friendly workplaces in a keynote address next month at the Social Venture Network's spring conference in San Diego. Other speakers will come from the likes of Google, Odwalla and Whole Foods.

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More Moms On The Job With Their Newborns

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