Roche employees’ summer made easier through on-site kids camp

Take your kids to work day happens all summer long at the Indianapolis campus of Roche’s diagnostics division.

The drug company has hosted an on-site summer day camp for employees’ children since 2012 in an effort to better support parents and provide work-life balance, says Cody Adams, a consultant in employee engagement at Roche.

“Employees have loved it,” he says, noting enrolment has jumped to 150 from 90 children per day in the last five years. In 2017, he expects the camp to serve more than 270 children. “The energy the kids bring to campus, the joy that they have, it really changes the environment in the summertime here on our campus.”

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“Parents who have their kids enrolled obviously love it,” he adds. “They can spend extra time with their kids. Bringing them into work with them, being able to show them what Roche is and where they go every single day . . . gets them interested in [science, technology, engineering and mathematics], which is a big initiative here on our campus, for us to support that in the community.”

Employees can also join campers for lunch on Fridays and are encouraged to see their colleagues as parents, not just workers. ”It really creates that community and family feel on our campus,” says Adams.

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Camp Roche is open to children ages five to 15, with teenagers involved in a leadership training program. The YMCA runs the main program during the day, and children participate in traditional camp activities, such as swimming at on off-site pool, canoeing, arts and crafts and a weekly field trip. Before and after the main program, Roche introduces activities, such as making baking soda and vinegar volcanoes and learning basic coding, and is considering having presentations on wilderness safety and recycling as well as company tours for older campers.

Employees pay market rate for the camp, but Roche covers the cost of campers’ breakfasts and bus transportation to the main camp area. It also offers subsidized lunches.

“There are indirect subsidies that I think parents will reap the benefits of, but from a direct-cost perspective . . . it’s about the same,” says Adams.

It’s unlikely, however, that other Roche locations will adopt the summer camp model, he adds. While the Indianapolis campus has a large footprint, including its own pond for boating activities, many other locations simply don’t have the space.

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