Being a working parent is a challenge, sometimes people need to bring their kids to work with them. I'm a huge fan of kid friendly work places. When I was a teacher we were always allowed to bring our kids to work when we needed to, I just had to get approval from the principal and sign a form deeming the school not responsible for my child. It helped that I was an art teacher, so my classroom was a super fun space for my kids.
Before becoming a parent I never really thought about things like what do working parents do with their kids in the summer, or when their preschool is closed for a day or even a week. Now I think about this and I think about how companies can embrace this as an opportunity to help build a better work-life balance for their employees.
As a kid I went to work with my dad on many occasions. I remember the year my dad enrolled my brother and I into an outdoor summer camp where we didn't know a soul. We lasted about 3 days before we begged him not to send us anymore. Thankfully he listened and instead took us to the office with him a lot that summer. I have fond memories of sitting at a desk, secretaries asking me if I needed anything and entertaining myself for hours with paper, a pencil, paperclips and unlimited use of the copy machine. There were lots of trips to the supply cabinet, water cooler, office snacks, and a soda machine.
I was lucky because my dad had his own business, so bringing me to work with him was always an option. This isn't the case for many people, but it doesn't have to be. With a creative space for kids companies can embrace the idea of kids making the occasional visit to the office.
Where better to build a kids creative work space than at my husband's office. My husband is the CEO of a super creative design and technology company in San Diego. It's a fairly young company with a good amount of employees with school aged children...including ours. I wanted to create a space where kids could go to be creative while their parents work.
We took a completely unused space under the stairs (too short for the average person to stand under, but perfect for a child) and turned it into an inviting area fit for a child. We call it the Fuse Junior Engineer Creation Station!
Finding a work-life balance is a struggle. Why not make it easier for parents by creating a work environment that allows employees to feel comfortable bringing their kids to work. If you own a business, you may want to think about creating a kid friendly workspace where kids can go when their parents need to bring them to the office. Companies that do this will no doubt earn the respect and admiration of working parents.
I used to scramble trying to find my daughter a space to draw at my husband's office, now she has a space she can paint, draw, read, put together puzzles and craft.
And if the creation station wasn't enough, we also keep a couple of balance bikes under the stairs, perfect for kids 5 and under who just want to scoot around the office. Between the snacks, bikes, and Creation Station, my kids love going to my husband's office!
Perhaps your office would be open to a Creation Station for your kids. A space that encourages children to learn and grow can have a positive impact well beyond the span of summer vacation.