School’s out for summer. While children and commuters alike might rejoice at the news, the extended break can cause extra stress for parents.

But could the summer holiday childcare crisis be avoided by bringing children into the workplace?

According to the Modern Families Index 2017 by Working Families and Bright Horizons, parents are suffering from a poor work/life balance.

The study found that only a third (34%) of working parents in the UK go home on time every day, and 41% do extra hours in the evenings or weekends, either all the time or often.

But would this balance be even worse with parents being distracted by onsite childcare? The distraction it could cause is one of the arguments against workplace childcare, p&mm employee benefits revealed.

So, it is perhaps not surprising that so few businesses provide onsite childcare. Figures from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, discussed by BBC News, claim that just 5% of organisations in the UK offer childcare in the workplace.

Benefits of childcare at work

However, there are potential benefits to providing childcare in the workplace. Instead of distracting employees with children, it can often make parents feel more relaxed, knowing their child is close by.

This is a feeling expressed by parents who use the on-site nursery at Goldman Sachs. As BBC News reports, the company’s building on London’s Fleet Street opened its Children’s Centre in 2003. It was designed to provide back-up provision for staff, accommodating children between the ages of three months and 12 years. Around a quarter of its staff are now registered users.

It could also put parents at ease about coming back to work after maternity and paternity leave. Co-founder of Second Home, Rohan Silva, noted: “The UK’s rate of maternal employment is 27% lower than other Western countries — making childcare more accessible will make a big difference.”

And companies themselves could benefit, too. As BBC News discusses, firms that offer onsite nurseries “get relief for the day-to-day running and capital costs of providing the service, for example heating and lighting, and premises.”

Before you try to work on-site childcare into your next office redesign, you might want to participate in Employees Matter’s Bring Your Child to Work Day. The organisation has been running the initiative across corporate UK since 2013, and it can be a great way to test the feasibility of having children in the building.

Things to consider before incorporating a nursery function into your office

Whether you have the space to include on-site childcare in your office or simply want to create a child-friendly space for parents to bring their children in should their pre-arranged childcare fall through, there are certain elements you’ll need to consider before going ahead, such as:

● Access — To and around the on-site childcare facility.
● Location — If children can see their parents from the facility, will this put them at ease or will it cause more distractions?
● Acoustics — Will it make too much noise? And will this be heard in the office?
● Using child-friendly materials — Not all building materials are appropriate for children.
● Regulations — If you’re looking at implementing permanent childcare facilities, there might be certain regulations you need to adhere to.

If you’d like to include a nursery function in your next office redesign, or update the one you’ve got, why not get some advice from the experts at Kerr today?