by Lelac Almagor

What Family Friendly Actually Means

I was a Bunch customer and superfan WAY before I became a Bunch employee. I've been a DC resident for even longer, so when I got the opportunity to take a job with Bunch - which for me was sort of like getting called onstage to jam with Pink Floyd during a concert - I became the one and only remote employee. 

When Aaron (the owner and founder) first invited me to visit the Bunch warehouse in Texas, here's how the conversation went:  

Me: Oh I'm so sorry, I'd love to, but my youngest is a nursing baby. I'm not ready to travel without her. 

Aaron: Well sure. Bring her. Of course. 

Me: 

Aaron: 

Me: Really? 

Aaron: Sure. 

Me: I'm assuming I'll pay for her ticket....? 

Aaron: No way. Mom and nursing baby is a package deal. We'll pay. 

Which about knocked me over but I guess is what happens when your company is run by a real live involved parent of actual children: He gets this.

But then. This is what happened next. 

Me: That's amazing but I'm still not sure this will work.

Like... where is the baby going to be during the day? 

Aaron: Easy. We'll hire a childcare provider to hang in the warehouse.

That way baby can be with you for nursing, baby product testing, or whatever, but you can swap off and have your hands free if you need. 

If you are a parent... especially if you are a mom... who had to work with small children underfoot through the pandemic... you probably understand why I'm tearing up as I write this. 

Everyone already knows that Bunch is family friendly. Aaron famously launched the company by typing on a laptop while walking on a treadmill with his infant son sleeping in a carrier on his chest - because that's the only way the baby would sleep, so the only way his wife could get some rest.

He rides the bike daily with his two kids, now 5 and 8, so the family biking experience is his everyday. It's mine too - we put in around 250 miles a week just getting to and from school and activities. 

But it wasn't until last week that I understood what it means for my WORKPLACE to be family friendly. Like, for real. 

It's paying for my nursing baby to travel with me.

And then providing childcare, so I can focus while she plays nearby. 

It's flexible scheduling that lets me leave early to pick up my kids... and show up late if there's a doctor's appointment or school event.

It's providing more paid parental leave as a tiny company than most Fortune 500s.

It's letting me take a "flex day" when school is closed so I can spend time with my kids. 

It's covering a health insurance gap for my family before I was even officially full time. 

 

It's imagining a different world for our families, one in which we have the flexibility we need, the support we need, the extra pair of hands we need, to be our best selves as parents and as part of a team. 

Not by special request, just as a matter of course, because that's how we all deserve to be treated. 

Before I joined the Bunch team, I was a classroom teacher for 19 years.

(Before Bunch, Aaron was a music teacher, and his wife Rachel still works as an early childhood educator - that teacher discount is close to our hearts!) 

I still love that work, and there are parts of it I miss - mostly the kids! 

But no school ever made me feel that it cared about me or my family in this way - or even my capacity to do better work when I know my family business is handled. 

So, this post isn't about bikes... but I wanted you to know. 

That's what Family Friendly means. 

P.S. One thing I didn't find out til later?

At the last minute, the babysitter cancelled. 

Aaron spent a couple hours on care.com and on the phone Thursday night, rounding up another sitter to chill with the baby at the warehouse when I arrived. 

He didn't even tell me.

That's Bunch in a nutshell: Make it right and make it easy. 

That's how we strive to treat our customers, for sure. 

And it's easy to want to do it that way - because that's how we're treated too.