This Thursday April 23rd, 2020 is 'Take Your Child to Work Day', an annual event that usually hosts upwards of millions of kids at millions of workplaces, often in physical locations. Oh, how times have changed; This year, for many parents, every day is 'Take Your Child to Work Day,' and with children homeschooling side by side to their parents, kids are particularly curious and interested in what their parents do when they are working.
As a business leader, this day presents a perfect opportunity for you to embrace the current working conditions. This year it's even more important than ever to give your staff a much-deserved reprieve from trying to balance it all and have some fun. Below are some tips for how to set your team's day up for success.
Keep It Short and Sweet.
For many business owners, the challenge in prior years with 'Take Your Child to Work Day' is taking an entire day away from business. Equally, for kids, its often difficult to concentrate for a full eight hours. With most of us working remotely, blocking out a shorter period of time is more viable, and often more engaging for younger children.
I recommend having children scheduled to join in the morning, have lunch with parents, and then the afternoon is reserved for work. This is a good balance for kids to be included, in a way that's manageable and bite sized.
Keeping the activities simple encourages children of different ages and interest levels to participate. The standard guideline is to include kids 8-18 years old, but you should be flexible based on the makeup for your particular team.
Focus on activities that are interesting for multiple age groups. Whereas a high school student might be really excited about your budget meeting, a kindergartener won't be able to sit through it. I suggest activities that can be easily adapted.
One option is having the children act as investigative journalists, learning about your team members and business. For a small child, they could do a zoom call and ask simple questions of co-workers such as "When you were my age what did you want to be when you grew up?"; "What does your desk look like?" or "Why did you choose your job?" For a more mature kid, that same format could lend itself to career advice and learning through a more advanced line of questioning.
Boost the team's feel good factor.
Especially now, when many parents are feeling stressed by the multiple demands of juggling work and kids, helping them remember how much they are appreciated is key. The best way to do that? Brag about them to their kids.
Have a meeting to kick off the day, and have each team member prepared to share one thing they love about working with that kid's mom or dad. Tell silly stories, if your team has any to share. As the boss, your role is really critical here-- don't be afraid to share what makes that employee a key part of the business's success. It will make your employee proud and also make their child excited and less intimidated by the workplace.
Get the kids involved in thinking not about their careers, but about their aspirations.
Use the day to help kids of all ages try to explore and think about their own interests. A simple approach is to ask kids to think about what problems they want to solve in the world. It's a good way of avoiding the loaded question of "What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?" which can limit kids thinking.
In fact, framing each person's role in your company in terms of what problem they are solving for can really help to stretch thinking and encourage kids to identify their passions. Not only will that make them excited about their future, but help raise a generation of kids who are focused on solutions vs feeling limited to a set of narrow career choices.