Would You Bring Your Kids to Work with You?
You’ve been there. Your kid is sick but you need to be on your way out the door. It’s not that bad–yet. So do you bundle up Junior for school or call in? Sabrina Parsons, CEO of Palo Alto Software and business writer thinks parents should be able to just bring your kids to work with you. Revolutionary? Yes, and it has a lot of people–parents and non-parents upset.
Parsons originally wrote about bringing kids to the office for Business Insider in December but recently addressed the mini controversy on the Huffington Post. She took Lean In author Sheryl Sandberg to task for insisting women act more like men in the workplace and offered an alternative:
“Let’s demand that corporate America’s norms change to accommodate women — those who want to have families and realize that having a family does NOT make us work less or achieve less. Companies that dictate our schedules, decide when and how we work, and believe that a pregnant woman is a liability is what prevents women from rising to the top. Until we can change those attitudes, ‘leaning in’ won’t work.”
By no means is Parsons advocate children just run wild an office while Mommy and Daddy try to tend to their business. It’s just a matter of making room for family life at the office. She clarified for the Huffington Post,
“My belief is that you can accommodate kids occasionally (not as a daycare replacement) in order to create a different norm for all working parents. I am lucky and have the means to employ a full-time nanny. But, occasionally I need to be in the office later than my nanny can stay. So, she drops my kids off at the office at 4:45 when her work day ends, and they hang out in my office and read, do homework or quietly play computer games. By having a workplace that is welcoming towards children, I can get my work done, my older children can read and get their homework done, and all of us are together. The last time this happened, was in early December (just for reference for those who picture me dragging my children into the office everyday).”
And before you think she wants the office to turn into the nurses office, she says,
“Again, I think I need to clarify. A very sick child that is running a fever is not going to be in my office. My husband and I will switch off being at home to take care of that child. But, a child who had a fever within the last 24 hours still can’t go to school; they need to rest and get better. They could stay at home with our nanny, but in these cases, I bring them in and set them up on a small inflatable mattress in my office. This way, I can monitor them, they can spend time with their mother, and everyone is happy. I allow them to watch shows and movies while also enforcing periods of naps so that they can get better. I love that I can get my work done and also be there for my children when they need me. I can bring them tea, soup and whatever else they need to get better. Meanwhile, I get much more work done because I am not worrying about my sick child at home.”
For the parents–and the kids–that can make this work, this actually seems like a really good idea. But that would mean you know your kids can sit still; Parson’s idea might only work with children out of the preschool stage.
If your job offered you the flexibility to bring your child to work, would you take advantage of it?