Forward-thinking TV show proves a new way can work

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STEVE CANAVAN: The case of the 'kitchen' door is open and shut

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Two years ago I would have baulked at the idea of a colleague bringing their baby into work.

While newsrooms aren’t like they are on the telly – all Drop The Dead Donkey-style back-stabbing and booze-sodden lunches – an office is still a workplace, not somewhere to be confused with a crèche.

But the past few years should have taught us a lot about the failings of British business.

Fed-up of getting fiddled by the bankers and stitched up by a bonus culture that leaves hard-working staff high and dry while rewarding bosses for achievements they haven’t yet made, we should start to demand an alternative – namely a more touchy-feely approach.

Let’s start appreciating that money only makes the world spin round so far. It’s good people who do the real leg-work.

People like forward-thinking MD Liam Griffin, the star of BBC2’s Babies in the Office and a man who, incidentally, must have the healthiest crop of hair on TV since Lovejoy.

The UK’s army of employers could learn something from Liam. After running a trial to let workers bring their babies to work with them, he made it permanent, even throwing in a new nursery to boot. Why? Because he wanted to keep hold of the staff he valued and make a difference for future generations.

Granted, there were teething problems. But the work still got done, the macho sales team made money and the female workers didn’t spend their days in a haze of booties and talc.

Okay, emergency service personnel will never be able to dandle a baby on one knee while responding to a 999 call. But for other bosses, it’s just about opening their eyes to a new possibility.

For those who really can’t allow parents to bring their nippers to work, putting everyone else through the chaos that comes with these mini-divas, now is the time for employers to at least commit properly to part-time roles and flexible working.

That way everyone stays happy: the employee who gets to work and see their own child for more than two hours a day; and the boss who gets to keep staff while acknowledging that the human race has to thrive and flourish.