Child care for two-career couples and single parents is one of the most daunting issues that parents and businesses face. Some large companies have onsiteday care centers; more realistic options for smaller companies include help in making day care referrals, providing child care reimbursement as part of aflexible benefit plan, and taking out "company spaces" in day care centers for lease to employees.
Some companies even find it feasible to have parents actually care for infants at the office. That's what worked for Bill Brecht, who owns a BMW dealership, in Escondido, Calif. The company didn't need a child care license in California as long the children were being cared for by their parents. So thecompany tried it: it spent less than $500 on playpens, infant swings, play gyms, and two doors, and brought on the babies. Brecht calls the experiment "aresounding success. It sent a spark throughout the store, breathing new life into the place."
On-site care can work when the parent is the CEO too. When Andrea Cunningham, head of Cunningham Communication Inc. (CCI), in Santa Clara, Calif.,had her first child in 1991, CCI employed 52 people and had revenues topping $5 million. Cunningham wanted to keep working but she also wanted to seeher child. So she hired CCI employee Alex Chisholm to be her "manny" after he proofread her nanny application and asked for the job. Chisholm cared forthe baby full-time and spent half his hours at the office, editing the company newsletter and doing industry research with the baby perched on his hip.