Google tells me, without a hint of irony, that “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day” falls on April 23 this year. Of course, by the time that day rolls around, millions of children will have been deeply entwined in their parents’ workdays for weeks. Take heart, though. From what I know about how this annual event normally plays out in many companies, the kids are probably learning something a whole lot more valuable this year.
Companies that celebrate Take Your Child To Work Day (one of many simplified versions of the name) often roll out elaborate agendas. Kids tour the office complex, attend child-size courses in finance or law, play games that bear some tangential relationship to the industry, and eat ice cream. What doesn’t generally happen: they see what their parent’s job really entails.
On the other hand, kids taking part in the great, unplanned, Covid19-driven Stay Home With Your Child As You Work Day are getting a taste of what a lot of office jobs are really like. They see their parents plowing through difficult or boring projects, frantically prepping for meetings, rolling their eyes during phone calls, swearing over tech problems, worrying about some off-hand comment by the boss, gossiping with co-workers, and popping into the kitchen for a snack. Now that’s a real day of work.
And kids aren’t the only ones who are suddenly learning more about how their loved ones really spend their days. In a modern twist, we now have “Take Your Partner or Roommate to Work Day,” too, as people begin to see their cohabitators in an entirely new light. This tweet has been retweeted 53,000 times, and spawned a litany of entertaining responses on the topic of witnessing our partners at work:
A funny thing about quarantining is hearing your partner in full work mode for the first time. Like, I’m married to a “let’s circle back” guy — who knew?
— Laura Norkin (@inLaurasWords) March 19, 2020
Then, of course, there are the parents who now get to see firsthand what their kids’ teachers put up with every day: noisy, squirming, inattentive kids. Ok, maybe that last bit won’t come as much of a surprise to many parents, but judging from social media a lot of them sure are showing a brand new level of appreciation for the job teachers do.
Just overheard my son’s teacher say (on their video call), “Let’s stay in our chairs and not be bouncing around on our beds, everyone.” Can we all agree now that teachers deserve a massive raise?
— Lisa Lundy (@lisalundy) April 9, 2020
Parents of older children may be gaining new insights, too. I had no idea my college-student daughter was so dependent on Coke Zero to get through the day, for example. Nor, I admit, did I know anything about how Dungeons and Dragons was actually played until it started being Zoomed through my dining room.
These days it can be hard to remember what day of the week it is, let alone what date—so it is likely April 23 will come and go unnoticed. But it doesn’t matter: this year, for many of us, every day is Take Our Sons, Daughters, Partners, Spouses, Roommates and Pets to Work Day. And we’re learning stuff we never even realized we didn’t know.
Looking for help communicating with your employees during this anything-but-business-as-usual time? Why not let me give you a hand?
I blog about work-life, diversity, wellness and other aspects of great workplaces as often as I find the time (which means a couple times a month, if I’m lucky). Want to know when my next post comes out? Sign up here!