With newer laws coming into force these days, employees around the offices often seek maternal or paternal leave. Long absences from work do affect the business. Thus, more employers are looking at options of opening crèches at the office to lure back employees to work faster than before and thereby, reducing long absences from work.
If you are facing a similar situation at your office, join in the bandwagon; and do explore the possibility of opening an office crèche for your employees.
Setting it up
Do keep in mind the rules and regulations. Take permissions from the local health center and other authorities for opening a crèche at the office. Display the permits inside the crèche as well as in the office where all employees can see them clearly. And remember to work out how much and what time would you allow the employees to visit the crèche. It certainly can’t be the full time and anytime affair.
Depending upon the number of employees you have and the probability of nursing parents using the crèche, arrange for a qualified babysitter or nanny. Check the license, past experiences, and feedback from previous employees before hiring the professional.
Find a room that is not too close to your employees sitting and working. It should be a room not too far away from the parents who would be visiting the crèche. But, it should surely be away from the conference or meeting rooms. You surely don't want your clients and the little ones to bump into each other accidentally or intentionally!
Furniture and Furnishings
The crèche should have the least amount of furniture in it as this would help to avoid accidents. There should be a bed or two for the babies to sleep on or the nursing parents to use. A folding table off the wall could be a good idea rather than a full-fledged table in the room. Keep the room as empty of furniture items as possible. Have a cupboard or some high wall shelves to place essentials like pillows, extra blankets, sheets, towels, etc if needed. There should also be a diaper changing table which will make the task quicker and see fewer absences from the workplace. Any sofa in the room should be of child-friendly drape and material. It should not be leather or cloth which stains easily. The materials should be easy to clean and not in a very light shade wither.
See that the items of furniture like beds, tables, stools, cabinets, etc have soft round edges, not sharp ones. These could harm the little children at the crèche. Have some pillows on the beds along with a blanket or two to cover. Keep some hand towels in the cupboard or cabinet inside the crèche.
Fix soft shades of curtains or blinds on the windows. Let the sunshine come in, but remember that some babies need complete darkness to sleep. So, have two layers of drapes if possible. Have floral or nursery prints in sheets, blankets, drapes, etc.
Place a large sized soft rug or two on the floor. Fix only anti-skid tiles to avoid anyone slipping and falling. Your lady employees would be wearing high heeled shoes, and you need to keep this in mind too. Match the tiles and rugs with the beautiful wall panels that you can do in the room. Choose from the many styles and shades of felted tiles and felt wall covering.
Keep some soft toys for the toddlers to be amused. But, there should not be any toys and games with small and detachable parts that they will accidentally swallow or stuff into their nostrils.
Lighting and Fittings
Fix proper lighting in the crèche. Children do get scared of darkness, and you will find your employees rushing more to the crèche than what you would want them to. A well-lit crèche will keep the children happier than a dingy one. Arrange for a diffused light also that can be used when the children take their midday or an afternoon nap.
Make sure that any electric fittings are well secured to the walls and sockets. Place all plug points high in the room out of reach of the children. Keep sockets closed and secure with plastic socket covers available in the markets.
Place a small television in the crèche in case the children need some entertainment and fun. You can fix it along with some small speakers on the wall. Add to the beauty of the room with some designer and stylish felt wall tiles. The television will look nice against these wall panels.
Make sure that the crèche is well ventilated. The use of fans or air conditioners depends upon your budget and requirement in the office. See that the windows open for fresh air, but are secured with grills and wire mesh to avoid insects coming in.
The safety of the children inside the office crèche is your responsibility to a large extent. As said earlier, make sure that there is minimal furniture inside the room. The edges are soft and rounded. There should be no loose wires and open sockets in the walls. All fixtures like wall folding tables etc. are properly secured. Keep a fire extinguisher close to the crèche. Avoid too many, and small ones at that, slippery rugs and mats.
The washroom should be kept locked and with no chemicals and cleaners within reach of the little ones. All such things should be inside locked cupboards out more of reach.
A very important to keep in mind while setting up an office crèche is the disturbance it would cause to the rest of the office. Children will make noise and play around in the room. Soundproof the crèche by using the best of soundproofing solutions like:
- Acoustic felt tiles
- Acoustical felt wall covering
- Acoustic felt panels
Have the children look at the beautiful felt ceiling tiles while they take a nap.
Make your daycare center a friendly, neat, and hygienic one. See the satisfied smiles on the faces of your employees, and their gratitude for taking care of their children while they care for your business.