“Bring Your Child to Work Day” usually gets mixed reviews — some employees love the opportunity to show off their little ones, while others roll their eyes. Overall, it’s a great chance to have some fun at the office and reinforce the importance of a healthy work-life balance.
Here are five ways to make sure that everyone involved has a good time without putting too much of a strain on productivity during the workday.
1. Focus on Child-Oriented Activities
Obviously, a child’s ideal day probably doesn’t look much like an average weekday in the office. But you still want your activities to relate back to the business. To start the day, take children on a guided tour of the office and set up hands-on workshops that demonstrate different aspects of the job, The Balance suggests. For example, kids love playing with money, so they might enjoy ringing up a sale or cutting checks. In other words, this shouldn’t be a day as usual where children are just watching from afar or playing video games off by themselves. The point of a bringing kids to work is to teach them about what their parents do and help them think about their own futures.
2. Engage Children’s Imaginations With Interactive Options
Try to include activities that have an educational element, such as group problem solving, budgeting or planning — anything that engages children’s imagination and gets their input or involvement. For instance, you could come up with a problem and ask the children to brainstorm solutions and give a two-minute presentation. If you can’t think of any business issues, ask them which world issues they would like to solve. You can do the same thing with planning and budgeting. Ask kids to think about how they’d make money for the business, who the customers would be and how they’d advertise the product. At the end of the day, ask them for ideas on planning next year’s event.
3. Teach Them About Everyone’s Jobs, Not Just Their Parents’
If you’re hosting a business-wide “Bring Your Child to Work Day,” don’t leave the responsibility of designing activities and ideas with the parents. Instead, direct your employees toward the best ways to get involved. For instance, interested employees could lead a workshop or a luncheon where someone from each department talks about their job and what they do. This will give the children a better view of what everyone at the company does — not just their parents. The University of Oregon hosts a community breakfast on “Bring Your Child to Work Day,” followed by breakout sessions focused on recycling, safety and journalism. In the afternoon, the university sets up “labs” in different areas that children can visit with their parents at their own pace.
4. Take Breaks
Even if the activities are going well, don’t get so caught up in the action that you forget to take breaks. Even taking a lunch break or getting coffee can be an adventure for younger children. If other employees have brought their children too, you can make it a group outing. Children will need more frequent breaks than their parents typically do, so turn coffee breaks into snack breaks for the kids.
5. Spread the Effort to Maintain Productivity
Of course, productivity is going to decrease a bit on this day. There’s no getting around that. Still, you don’t have to give up productivity entirely. If you set up work stations in various departments that children can visit on their own time, you spread out the time and people needed to help out, meaning no one department will be overwhelmed. You can also have break times where all the children gather in one room for an educational TV show, workshop or skit so the rest of the office is calm enough for your employees to get some work done.
“Bring Your Child to Work Day” is a wonderful opportunity to encourage children to learn about their parents’ workplace and start thinking about their futures. When you show that you care about your employees’ kids, you’re helping turn the workplace into a real community.
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