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For any parent whose office and nursery are in different directions, the idea of a co-working nursery with everyone under the same roof could appear to be the perfect solution. But is combining work and childcare a good mix, or is the opportunity to have a quick sneak peek too distracting?
Sebastian Howell’s four-year-old daughter attended Bright Horizons Family Solutions Goldman Sachs Children's Centre on Fleet Street, the only on-site nursery in London's Square Mile to offer full-time childcare for its employees.
The executive director at Goldman Sachs says the nursery has been a ‘brilliant support’ for both himself and his family and describes it as ‘simply unique’.
He said: “Being able to call upon the childcare support even with short notice is such a valuable resource. My daughter was extremely happy at the centre and I loved being able to pop down to see her at lunch or inbetween meetings – it was reassuring.”
Investment banking firm Goldman Sachs opened the facility in 2005 in response to requests from employees, many of whom were women returning to work after maternity leave and were facing childcare challenges.
The Ofsted ‘Outstanding’ centre is run by Bright Horizons, the largest provider of workplace nurseries in the UK and provides childcare solely for Goldman Sachs employees.
Goldman Sachs pays the nursery group a monthly management fee and parents who need childcare beyond that paid for by the bank, deal directly with the nursery.
“We wanted to give our employees one less thing to worry about - both in the return to work process but also to manage last minute childcare problems,” said Sally Boyle, international head of human capital management at Goldman Sachs. “We offer four weeks’ free full-time care at the nursery for all women returning to work and accommodate all ‘on the day requests’.
“Families also have peace of mind knowing that their children are with expert childcare professionals and only moments away in a safe and stimulating environment, which they can visit at any time.”
Whilst there are fears that bringing a baby into the workplace will be disruptive, one female managing director, whose son used the facility from six months to three-years-old, said: “There is nothing more stressful than worrying about childcare. I just couldn’t concentrate on my job if I was worried that my nanny wasn’t feeling well or she didn’t turn up on time.
“It was incredible to be able to have him at my workplace. I knew that he was happy and I could go down and visit at any time.”
The Children’s Centre offers a wide range of services to Goldman Sachs’ families, including regular childcare for children aged up to three years of age, back-up childcare and holiday provision for children aged up to 12 years. Parents are welcome to visit their children in the centre at any time throughout the day. There is also a dedicated Breastfeeding Room and a Parent Resource room where parents can access useful information.
Ms Boyle added: “Our facility is the only on-site corporate childcare facility in the City of London. It’s so good to be able to offer childcare facilities within our building, enabling mothers and fathers to be at work, knowing their children are being well looked after downstairs.”
The centre is open each weekday from 7am to 6.15pm all-year-round.