KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A downtown Kansas City insurance office is investing in its employees with a progressive program called “Infants in the Workplace,” which as the name describes, allows parents to bring their infants to work until the babies are six-months old.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners office located at 1100 Walnut Street isn’t a typical office. In the midst of computers and files and office chairs, there are baby rattles and baby smiles and even baby wails.
NAIC, a Kansas City-based association, believes the program helps boost employee job satisfaction by allowing parents a ‘transition period’ to get them back into the work rhythm.
The program certainly has its advantages, but is also not always easy on mom and dad or their colleagues.
“It makes it a lot easier being a mom, not worrying about where she is,” said Kelly Hill, whose 6-month-old daughter has been coming to work with her since she was 10-weeks old. “Everyone is used to the babies and they love them. If I need to work, they will constantly say, ‘Oh I’ll take her for 20 minutes.'”
“It’s nice that you don’t feel like a burden if she’s crying,” Hill said. “No one is saying, ‘Gosh, Shut that kid up!’ Even the guys that are walking around with a straight face. Then they see the babies and they’re like ‘Oh, hi!'”
Parents who want to participate in the program have to apply in advance through human resources. They also have to be in good standing and work for the company for six months prior. Additionally, they have to identify five volunteer caregivers at the office.
NAIC offices include five floors in Town Pavilion, with about 500 employees..
“In the beginning she slept a lot and then as she gets more active, the older she gets the more active she is. It’s more entertaining. But it’s great, getting to see all the firsts. Like the first rolling over, the first giggle, just getting those extra 3 months with her is pretty great,” said Hill.
Lexi will be graduating from the program soon and will start daycare.
“I’m sure I’ll be a little more productive,” said Hill. “But I think she’s ready. She’s ready to go play with kids instead of us.”