5.21.20 | Press Release
NEW YORK – The unprecedented times brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have left no one unaffected. Many have struggled, mentally and physically, to adjust to the “new normal” of working and socializing remotely, but adding children to the equation brings an extra challenge.
Parents have been forced to rapidly adapt to manage responsibilities including, but not limited to, childcare, homeschooling, and their professional workload, often all at once.
Berdon understands the stress this has put on its employees and sought to alleviate some of that pressure by incorporating a new initiative that embraces the reality of remote working during the pandemic. Since the annual Bring Your Child to Work Day was meant to take place while the world was in quarantine, the firm revamped the experience in order to acknowledge and celebrate our new co-workers—creating an opportunity to “Bring Your Child to (Remote)Work” and launching Berdon’s Kids Corner.
A normal Bring Your Child to Work Day at Berdon would consist of children coming into the office, participating in an arts and crafts project, watching a movie, making their rounds to different departments for activities based on the year’s theme, which has included animals in different habitats and the five senses, and finishing the day with an exciting activity, such as a petting zoo or a performance by a magician.
However, with the global pandemic making every day “bring your child to work day,” Berdon Leadership embraced the current reality and developed a weekly program to provide its employees with a brief respite as they juggle the many pressures that have mounted as quarantine has grown longer. The goal of Berdon’s Kids Corner is similar to past events – entertain and educate attendees, get to know the Berdon family’s youngest members, and provide them and their parents with quality time together during working hours.
“It is essential to support parents who are currently managing both working full time, parenting, and teaching. We hope that by launching Kids Corner, parents at Berdon feel seen, knowing that we recognize all of the responsibilities they have taken on,” said Berdon LLP’s Chief Operating Officer, Rebecca Goodman-Stephens.
Kids Corner is scheduled for every Friday, where a Partner or Department Head leads parents, children, and employees of all ages in story time or an arts and crafts lesson. In the first installment, Partner, Executive Committee Member, and Leader of Berdon’s Law Firm Services Practice, John Fitzgerald, read It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny by Marilyn Sadler. The Zoom meeting attracted over 75 employees and 130 children and led to many laughs as the group enjoyed the book and discussed what animals they would like to be, hearing answers ranging from a monkey to a unicorn. In Kids Corner’s second week, Marc Fogel, Audit Partner, and his daughter read The Book with No Pictures by B. J. Novak to the audience who demanded an encore, compelling Marc to read the book for a second time. One of the best things about the initiative is that it is not only attracting employees who have children. All are welcome and the diversity amongst the attendees truly illustrates that during these unprecedented times, simple moments, such as children smiling and laughing, can make isolation a little less isolating.
“As a working parent, being at a company that understands the importance of spending time with family during the workday, especially with young children who have lots of energy and don’t understand what is going on, has been a blessing. I look forward to having this time each week where I can combine my professional and family life,” said Berdon Principal, Nicole Barthelemy.
As the firm proceeds to navigate through quarantine and the process of returning to the office, Kids Corner will continue to provide educational activities and entertainment to relieve parents, even if only briefly, from the challenges of keeping their children occupied at all times throughout the workday. More importantly, it has injected a dose of positivity and connectivity that many are yearning for during these difficult times.