Fridays are child’s play at one Herndon firm


Employees at Herndon-based MicroPact crowd around a baby who’s visiting the office. (MicroPact/Courtesy of MicroPact)

Company: MicroPact.

Location: Herndon.

Number of employees: About 100.

One Friday a month, baby blankets cover the floor of MicroPact’s Herndon office.

Infants crawl around the accounting department, toddlers run up and down the hallways and older kids play Wii in the office lounge.

“There are about a dozen kids here on any given Friday,” said Sabine Dietrich, the company’s human resources manager. “And they’re all ages — from newborns to 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds.”

The tradition — a grass roots effort by parents at the company — started about three months ago, following what Dietrich calls a 2011 baby boom at the software firm.

“It’s not like we were planning to do this,” Dietrich said. “It just kind of happened.”

A group of parents simply got together, picked a day and brought their kids to work with them on that designated morning.

Not that Dietrich, whose own children are grown, is complaining.

Parents at the software firm bring their children to work one Friday every month. (MicroPact/Courtesy of MicroPact)

“Gosh, those babies are so adorable,” she said. “You’ll see the older employees, like myself, running around trying to get their baby fix. And then you’ll see the parents going around like, ‘Who’s got my child? Where’d they go?’ It’s a lot of fun.”

The company’s founder and chief executive, Kris Collo, says he brings his four children, aged 1- to 9-years, to the office on occasion. They play computer games and hang out near the saltwater fish tank in the lobby.

“They love the fish tank,” he said. “They’ll just sit there and stare at it for hours.”

The company always has crayons and games on hand, and parents are encouraged to bring their kids to work as necessary.

“It’s not easy to raise kids these days,” Dietrich said. “It makes it so much easier to work with people when you know their families on a personal level.”

But does anybody manage to get any work done on the days when kids roam free?

“Well,” Dietrich said, “they pretend to.”

Abha Bhattarai covers local retail, hospitality and banking for The Washington Post. She has previously written for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters and the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times.
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