Okay, let me address the elephant in the room – or actually – the children in the office.
I have seen this trend happening more and more frequently. Co-workers bringing their children into the workplace to avoid daycare or waiting until school starts again.
Let me say that I am not against children or bringing children to the workplace if parents have daycare issues they are having to work out – temporarily. However, the workplace is not an alternative daycare option. There is no place for it if the business is not running its own daycare for their employees.
I see it too many times that people bring their children into the office and expect their co-workers to act as babysitters while they work. Babysitting is not their job and it shouldn’t be expected of them. I’m sorry that the kids are out of school for the summer but the office is not the place for them to hang out. What about others who actually think ahead and arrange for their children to be taken care of? It’s not fair to those parents is it?
Employees bring their children in assuming it’s okay without even asking for permission to do so. They do it and supervisors are too afraid to say anything to these employees in fear that they will be perceived as monsters. Well, what about the people who are trying to get the job done?
I have even seen security guard let children come through with their parents without any regard to potential security concerns. That just seems a bit odd to me. I had to go through an extensive security background to get the job I have yet a 10-year-old can pass through simply because their parent couldn’t get a babysitter that day?
Business should have a policy in place for this issue. It should be fair and it should be enforced. The policy should be one of the following:
- It is okay to bring children to the office without asking.
- It is okay sometimes but you need to ask permission first.
- It is never okay to bring children into the office.
Here is an example of an office policy:
We understand that there are times when unplanned emergencies and situations occur that leave you without a sitter on a workday. For this reason, we sometimes allow employees to bring their children to work, as long as they meet the following guidelines:
Age: Children must be at least 3 months old.
Length of Time: Children should not spend more than 1 business day at the office in a two-week period.
Prior Permission: Employees must obtain prior permission from management before bringing children to work.
Toys and Games: Employees must provide toys, books, and/or games to keep children occupied in the office which do not create a distraction for other employees. Office supplies and equipment are not their toys.
Supervision: YOU are responsible for watching your children. Do not expect other co-workers to watch after them.
There are some issues that should also be considered:
- Safety – children in the workplace should always be supervised and have limited access to dangerous areas.
- Productivity – children can be cute but they do get bored. They may become overly excited and want to run around or ask questions.
- Security – some businesses work on sensitive matters that would not be appropriate for children to be around.
- Insurance – It could be illegal for minors to be in the workplace for liability issues
- Etiquette – some places are simply not appropriate for children and gives visitors an unprofessional view of the business.
Of course, if a co-worker of mine brings their children to work I would never be mean to the child. No one should ever take it out on them. Always address issues with the parent or your supervisor. It isn’t the child’s fault and you certainly don’t want them to be left someplace unattended. Always be kind to the child.
The main thing is stop assuming that you can bring your child to work or take advantage of the situation. Employers need to provide clear policies on this and enforce these policies when they are not followed.