Work Life Balance
Kids At Work: It’s Better Than The Bar, Right?
Children have been banned from first-class flights and certain restaurants, but I hope that they’re always invited to my place of employment. Even though my office is surrounded by thousands of cases of alcohol, we’re not against a few underage visitors. As a small business, the owners of my company are wonderful enough to allow employees to bring their children occasionally, as long as they can control the volume and still manage to complete their work. We don’t have an office daycare, but if your kids have an unexpected sick day or need to come in for the afternoon after a dentist appointment, no one minds. At least, I thought that no one minded.
I haven’t taken advantage of our kid-friendly rules yet, but I’m planning on it. As a toddler, my little girl isn’t low maintenance enough. She would take too much of my concentration away from my job. But some of my co-workers have kids in middle or elementary school and they stop in from time to time, mostly on snow days.
Personally, I think it’s nice to see kids in the office. They’re always polite and on their best behavior. The entire office normally gets artwork to hang at their desks. Let’s face it, some people could use an extra rainbow or unicorn to remind them of better times when they’re working. I’ve yet to have an experience where a child has thrown a temper tantrum, distracted me or in any way misbehaved.
As a working mother, I love the idea of showing my child about my work. I want them to see where I’m at all day long. I hope to be an example for my daughter, that women can be caring mothers and successful professionals. It’s hard to explain to children where you’re at during the day. My daughter has always resented the word “work” as something that takes me away from her. I’m hoping that as she gets older, I can show her why work is so important to me.
This all sounds idyllic, right? Happy parents introducing their children to their place of business, inspiring young minds and still managing to have a productive day at the office… Well apparently not everyone agrees with me. Back in April, right around “Take Your Kids To Work Day”, USA Today published a piece about why you should reconsider taking your kids to work. In general, they don’t like the actual foundation which runs the national event. But some people latched on to the article’s third point, that co-workers have to pick up the slack if you bring your children to work. For a couple months now, some people in our office have been circling the piece, trying to see if anyone else was upset about kids showing up to work from time to time.
I understand the frustration that occurs when a co-worker isn’t doing their fair share. I promise, I’ve been there. But I would bet that employees who use their children’s visit as an excuse to slack off on their work, normally make up all kinds of excuses not to do their job. With that type of employee, it has very little to do with the children and much more to do with the individual’s work ethic. Most parents, including almost all of them that bring kids into my company, want to show their children what hard-work looks like. You don’t do that by slacking off, no matter who might be watching.
I was disappointed in my co-workers when I heard people commenting about the frequency with which some people bring in their kids. It’s never been more than once every couple of months. And like I said, I’ve never seen a child misbehave. There may be places that children don’t belong. After-work cocktails? Definitely not. Important business presentation? Probably not a good idea. But I don’t think its a problem to have your children sitting in your office with you every once in a while. Hopefully soon, my little one will get to visit and we’ll get to show that its possible to be a professional and a mother.