Kids in the office

Kids in the office:
Coping when children come to work

By the editors of Briefings Media Group

Ah, summer is just around the corner, and with that comes the possibility of kids—yours or a co-worker’s—visiting the office. Here’s how to survive a challenging situation:

When you must bring your kids to work  

You can tell that summer is here: Your children are out of school and your babysitter just called in sick for the day. So what do you do? Well, you can either take the day off—or you can lug your bundles of joy to work. Answer these questions before making your decision:

  • Are kids allowed in your office? Organizations have varying policies—usually for safety reasons. Most manufacturing companies, for example, prohibit kids.
     
  • Who should I inform beforehand? Eliminate any surprises, by alerting your entire team. A team member may be expecting a potential customer or planning an important meeting during the day. If so, you need to know to keep your children out of sight—and earshot.
     
  • How will I keep my children busy all day? Plan to supply children with age-appropriate supervision and activities. If possible, set your children up in an unused conference room, allowing them to spread out and play without annoying your co-workers.
     
  • Can I handle the complaints? It’s never easy to hear criticism about your child, but be prepared to hear complaints and to reprimand your child for behavior problems.

When a co-worker’s kid runs rampant

Summertime’s freedom from school schedules sometimes turns your office into a “kid zone.” You don’t mind having your teammates’ kids at work occasionally. But how do you deal with one pesky kid who runs out of control?

Take this approach: Negotiate with the child’s parent. You risk a serious rift between the two of you if you criticize a teammate’s child. Instead, focus on offering your teammate evidence of the child’s behavior and providing alternatives for an appropriate play area.

Example: “I’m pretty busy, so I can’t keep an eye on Junior. And I am afraid that if he keeps climbing on the file cabinet, he will hurt himself. Perhaps he could play in conference room B; no one is using that space today.”

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