How Austin businesses are making jobs work for working parents

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — From the outside, the T3 offices in the West Campus neighborhood look like a lot of others. Inside is a different story. Employees at the Austin-based advertising agency are allowed to bring their babies (and pets) to work. 

“They go to meetings and sometimes they’re sitting on a table and someone is feeding them,” says CEO, Gay Gaddis of the little ones who populate her office.

Gaddis came up with the idea to allow her employees to bring their babies to work in the early ’90s when four of her employees found out they were having a baby at the same time. 

“And so we put our heads together and said, ‘Why don’t you bring the babies with you after maternity leave?'”

Decades later, more than a hundred babies have spent their early years in the T3 offices. Now, she and other business owners are sharing their experiences with companies in Austin.

“(The initiative) is not the government telling businesses what to do,” Mayor Steve Adler says.

“But businesses stepping forward to say, this is what we’ve done and it’s been good for business. It’s been good for productivity. It’s been good for morale.”

Early Matters Greater Austin has created a toolkit for business owners to find ways to make life easier for their employees, how to make the changes, and perhaps more importantly, why it’s good for business. 

At T3, the benefits have been clear. 

“It cuts down dramatically on turnover because people become very loyal and they are able to manage their families and their lives better and stay with us for a long time,” Gaddis says. 

According to Early Matters, 83% of millennials say they would leave their current job for one with more family-friendly benefits. Gaddis and others hope they will convince business owners competing for talent that family-friendly and business-friendly can be the same thing. 

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