Babies In The Office: Taking my baby to work

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I was on maternity leave when I first heard about the Babies In The Office scheme.

My employer, the minicab firm Addison Lee, was planning on trialling a groundbreaking initiative that allowed parents to bring babies up to the age of three into work on a daily basis - not in a crèche but by their side at their desks.

It meant that employees on maternity leave could come back early.

A memo detailing the scheme was included in my payslip asking if I would like to take part. I'd never heard of the idea before and I was so excited; I think I was the first person to sign up!

Watch how Shellon and her fellow parents get on with their babies at work

Mahdka, my daughter, was just five months old when I returned to work three days a week. I was excited at the prospect of having her with me every day and as a result didn't feel any of the anxiety many new mums feel when they go back.

Although there were initially a few sceptics in the office on the whole my colleagues were supportive of the idea of bringing babies to work.

I also promised myself I would work extra hard to prove the sceptics wrong - and I succeeded.

As far as concentration went I soon realised that you have to be able to multi-task.

Both baby's routine as well as scheduling your day can be adjusted so that you get the bulk of your work done while they are napping.

I started taking my break when it was Mahdka's lunch time and ensured I had all the basics and toys close to hand at all times.

Most importantly it is key to remember that it is your baby, therefore your responsibility, although each parent did have a buddy that took the baby if you're in a meeting or baby's really upset while you are on a call.

There were a few initial teething problems and during the trial period Mahdka was doing just that, teething!

She was uncharacteristically restless and it meant that I did spend a little more time soothing her in the baby change room than I would have liked to.

Shellon Beckford with Mahdka

However I have to say that the positives definitely outweighed the negatives.

Having Mahdka with me in the office meant that I saved £943 a month on childcare and even more valuably I was with her every day watching her grow and develop, something I would definitely have missed out on if she was at the nursery every day.

The Babies in the Office scheme also helped Mahdka with her own personal development. She was interacting with so many different people on a daily basis, something she may not have had the benefit of in childcare.

An extra and unexpected bonus of the scheme is the boost to morale in the office: I have made great friends with colleagues in departments that I had never even spoken to before!

You'll see in the programme that by the end of the month-long trial those colleagues who had said it would never work had changed their minds and realised that it was possible to continue to work with minimal disruption.

It was agreed that babies under the age of one would continue to be allowed at workers' desks and children any older would be placed in the on-site nursery.

I am now waiting for the nursery to be completed so I can continue to bring Mahdka into the office with me every day.

Shellon Beckford features in Babies In The Office.

Babies In The Office is on Tuesday, 17 July at on 7pm on BBC Two and BBC HD. For further programme times, please see the episode guide.

Comments made by writers on the BBC TV blog are their own opinions and not necessarily those of the BBC.

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