An article from today's Boston Globe discusses a relatively new variation on child care: on-the-job parenting. On the surface, the accommodations made for Farm Aid resource development director Wendy Matusovich sound like a brilliant idea to me — bring your infant to work with you, keep her in a car-seat while you answer go about your business, bring her to meetings as necessary and play pass-the-baby to keep things going — but, as I read through the article, I started to form a different opinion. "What about screamers?" I asked myself, just before the article asked that very question. The presence of a baby in the office might be great for the mom or dad, but could it really be all that great for the co-workers involved, even those who gave their blessing? I didn't worry so much about the germs that are passed around any busy organization — any parent who takes their child to daycare, as I do, resigns themselves to the cold realities of the runny nose merry-go-round — but I did worry, in much the same way that I worried a while back about single workers suffering for the sake of their married, child-rearing counterparts, about how this affected the non-parents involved.
At a certain point, doesn't it just make more sense to let someone telecommute? We live in an age where my boss can run our organization from halfway across the country, where I was able to stay home twice a week to take care of my daughter during the first year of her life. Bringing baby to work every once in a while is okay, I think, but if it's something that has to happen on a regular basis, then why not make arrangements for mom or dad to work from home? That's one less car on the road and a couple more hours of productivity added to each day, depending on the length of the commute.