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New Rules Of Work

Bright Horizons Is Betting Kids Will Return to the Office, Even If Parents Stay Home

As the child-care industry crumbles, the largest provider of on-site daycare makes its move on corporate America.

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Illustration: Inkee Wang for Bloomberg Businessweek

Even with catered lunches and two on-site gyms, Bryce Hunt has no interest in working full-time from software maker Podium Corp’s office in Lehi, Utah. But five days a week, the enterprise customer-success director—or her husband, an engineer for a medical device company—still makes the 30-minute round-trip commute to Podium’s headquarters. Why? To drop their 2-year-old daughter at the company’s subsidized day care center before returning home to work remotely.

This kind of reverse commute wasn’t exactly the setup the $3 billion tech company had in mind in 2019, when it partnered with Bright Horizons Family Solutions Inc., the world’s largest provider of on-site day care. But these days, companies will do whatever it takes to hold on to employees. “It is a crisis here,” says Katie Morrow, Podium’s senior director of people operations, referring to the battered state of day care. “There’s a shortage of high-quality access to child care in our country, and we have the ability to help remove that barrier for our team.”