Today is Take Our Daughters & Sons to Work Day. For most parents who work outside of the home, this is the one day of the year in which your boss is (almost) willing to let you bring your kid with you to the office. But what kind of workplace do you want your child to grow up to be part of? One where work just means being present in an office from 9am-5pm, with a micromanaging boss and no control over your own time? Or one where work means being empowered to make your own decisions about how to be productive and engaged?
While the idea behind Take Our Daughters & Sons to Work Day is a good one, there are some definite drawbacks to it if you work in a traditional office job.
Your boss really doesn’t want your kid in the office.
As much as your boss might say that he can’t wait to meet your child, he would almost certainly be happier if you left him home. Having Junior in the office will likely be seen as a huge distraction to him and the rest of the staff. Your boss might hide in his office the whole day to avoid your kid (and your other coworkers who brought their children in, too) or perpetually pace past your desk to make sure you’re getting your work done.
Neither do your colleagues.
When you get to the office, your colleagues will all certainly come over to your cubicle to coo over your offspring, but then one of two things will likely happen. They will either shoot you dirty looks the rest of the day as you “get away with” having your kid as a distraction while they have to stay heads-down in their work, or they’ll keep coming over to your desk every hour to check on your child—and interrupt the little workflow you’ve managed to get going.
You won’t actually work.
Sure, you might be a marketing maven, but that’s going to be tough to explain to an 8-year-old. Your kid will be more interested in playing Minecraft on your computer. Add to that his incessant need for snacks and bathroom breaks—which requires a card key for entry and adult supervision—and your day is pretty much shot.
Your child probably doesn’t want to be there, either.
No matter how much you hype up going to the office (“You’ll get to see where Mommy works!”) your kid will almost certainly become bored before long. If your workday starts at 9:00 a.m., that’s a lot of hours to fill. It’s hard enough as an adult to focus for 8-hours straight without a change in pace or scenery, so there’s no reason to think it will be any easier for your child to stay engaged for that amount of time either.
All this is not to say that Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day isn’t a good idea. In fact, if you work from home, it’s an excellent opportunity for your kids to see what you do as a remote worker. Not only do you not have to worry about annoying your boss, but you won’t disturb any of your coworkers, either. In a much calmer setting, your child can see what you do for a living, and truly grasp the concept that when you’re in your home office, you’re actually working. When she gets bored watching you work (which will happen whether you work in a traditional office or a home office), you can simply send her to the family room to read a book—a true win/win for both of you!
And if you have a flexible schedule, then if your workday slows down because you’re showing your kiddo the ins and outs of computer programming, for example, you can make up the time later. You can also break up the day by bonding with your child over a long lunch and other breaks throughout the day—an opportunity to spend some quality one-on-one time together, without fear of repercussions from the boss. Your child will be happy for the extra time with you, and you’ll be a great working parent by showing her not only how you earn a living, but how work flexibility truly benefits your family, too.
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