Bringing Kids to Work or Not – Good Idea or Career Limiting Move

One of my colleagues brings her kids to work on days that schools or their day-care is unexpectedly closed. Her kids are about 5 and 7, and she brings either one or both depending on the circumstance. I would say on average, she brings the “kids to work” about 7-10 times a year. Overall the kids are pretty well behaved and just sit around her office cube and draw or play with whatever toys they bring in. She seems to also be able to go out about her work quite normally, though tries to minimize meetings for the day. Given we have all worked together for a while, the kids are pretty familiar to most of the team and so we don’t mind them coming in on occasion. However, some other office staff (not in our team) sitting around are not so favorably disposed. More often than not I have heard them grumble that why can’t she just stay home with the kids. Not surprisingly it is the younger team members, who don’t have kids of their own, that begrudge the whole bringing kids to work concept.

I admit at times it is distracting to see a couple of kids running around, but having a young child myself I know it is not always easy to find a baby sitter or take a day off on short notice. The company I work for tries to be quite flexible with the work/life balance and I could not find an explicit policy regarding bringing kids to work in certain situations. I wonder if companies actually have HR policies to address this? Mind you if the kids were noisy and creating a ruckus, then I too would share the feeling that they should not be brought into work. But once in a while it is okay as long as the employee/parent ensures that do not overly misbehave.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Should employees stay home with kids in unexpected situations or is it okay to bring them into work.

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