It is a little-known fact here in the UK that ‘Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day’ is an actual day that is recognised in the United States on the fourth Thursday of every April. In fact, Canada also has the Take Our Kids to Work national programme in which Grade 9 (Year 10) students spend the day at work with one of their parents on the first Wednesday of every November. With 75,000 employees participating in the programme in Canada in 2013 and more than 37 million employees taking part in the US each year, there’s got to be some benefit to bringing your children to work.
Although in the UK we don’t share the same zeal for officially bringing our children to work once a year, it is interesting that our colleagues across the pond have felt the need to make this an annual occurrence. Here at Loyalzoo, we love to innovate and encourage innovation in the businesses that are signed up to our app, so the hype surrounding these ‘Take Kids to Work’ days led us to wonder whether business owners should make the effort to accommodate the occasional visit to their place of work by employees’ children, or whether it would simply be a huge distraction.
While small business owners may cringe at the thought of having children in their workspace because of the presumed detrimental effect it would have on productivity, the reality is that with the recruiting industry picking up again, employers need to find ways of enhancing their employer branding; having an annual ‘Bring your Child to Work Day’ is actually a great way of showing employees your flexibility, out-of-the-box thinking, and consideration of their work-family life balance—while showcasing you as an employer worth sticking around for.
So, how can you make a ‘Bring your Child to Work Day’ work for your office without turning your business into a day care unit?
Impose an age limit. Children over 10 are more likely to gain informative,valuable insight from the day, and will also be quieter and more focused.
Ensure that there are strict ground rules that children and parents must follow, and ensure that parents discuss these with their children before bringing them to work.
If possible, schedule the itinerary of tasks and priorities for the day in such a way that the children will be able to interact, participate and stay interested. Just having children shadowing their parents is a recipe for disaster, because they will soon become bored and irritable.
Let the children know that they will have to write a report at the end of the day, encouraging them to stay focused, take notes and learn throughout the day.
Most importantly, remember that giving your team’s children the chance to visit your office could be an invaluable experience that will inspire them, instil a renewed respect for their parents, and give them a better understanding of the professional world; in short, you could be providing a wonderful opportunity for children and parents alike.