Computer screens, telephones, staplers and sippy cups! Welcome to my baby friendly office. Four years ago I was a partner in a law firm and pregnant with my first child. Not wanting to give up a career I had worked hard for, but also not wanting to give up time with my precious newborn, I decided to merge my two worlds and built a small nursery attached to my corner office.
After a short maternity leave, I returned to work with baby and nanny in tow. I realized how fortunate I was to be in a position to bring my baby back in with me and watched with a heavy heart as a support staff member went out on maternity leave and came back only a few weeks later, sans baby. My eyes suddenly opened to the struggle of working moms and dads — finding and paying for affordable quality daycare and the pinch they would find themselves in when a little one became ill.
Years later, I opened my own law firm and was determined to help parents find more balance. I wanted working moms who wanted to breastfeed their newborn to be able to. I wanted working moms to continue to be able to advance in their careers, but not at the expense of their families, and to not be forced onto the “mommy track”.
When I opened the Personal Injury Law Office of Chelsie M. Lamie, P.A. in 2016 I instituted policies that would enhance the lives of my staff members’ families. My firm offers 6 weeks of paid paternity and maternity leave and with a part-time office nanny and nursery, our firm allows staff members to bring in their young children (birth to pre-k) three days a week.
Our office nanny is wonderful and with our office in beautiful downtown Safety Harbor, Florida, the children spend a good portion of their day outside on nature walks, at the park, at the playground, looking for dolphins and manatees at the pier or at the local library.
Full time staff members have the option of working the other two days a week from home which allows them to continue to be with their children and allows the firm to schedule important in-person meetings in our office without the bustle of a full nursery. While many employers may hesitate at the idea of welcoming babies into the office I have seen, first hand, how it makes the workplace a more joyous and warm environment in which to work. Clients faces light up when they see the children heading out in their little red wagon.
My staff turnover is zero and I have more qualified applicants knocking on my door than I know what to do with. As a mother and an employer I am thrilled to be able to provide each of my team members with a work-life balance that shouldn’t be reserved only for those in corner offices.