Bring a parent into work
Tomorrow is ‘bring a parent into work’ day – and we think it’s great! Yes, National and International DAYS like “Speak like a pirate” day (whyyy?) and “Balance a doughnut on your head” day (OK not really) may be tenuous and annoying, but the idea of bringing a parent into work makes us feel warm and fuzzy for a whole BUNCH of reasons.
Linkedin has taken a big step towards making this child-parent day of bonding into an actual THING by creating ‘Bring In Your Parents Day’ (check it out) and inviting businesses to contribute. Four years on, they tell us that over 50 businesses now open their doors up to mum and dad (more than 20,000 mums and dads last year across the globe actually), suggesting that the idea is starting to gather some momentum. And what does that mean? That means that we can expect entire herds of older people feeling faintly out of place and bemused on a grand scale for one day of the year and making silent judgements on a) the general state of the office b) canteen food c) unnecessary meetings – and the list goes on. We like that employers (who, incidentally, should also be bringing their parents in) open their doors to a barrage of new (hopefully constructive) criticism and we certainly suggest you ask your parents to fill in a feedback form!
If the idea tickles your fancy but you’ve only just found out about it and need more time to prepare, why not put it in the diary for next year and make sure you’re a part of the fun. Get your colleagues on side with these excellent reasons to join in!
CLOSE THE GENERATIONAL GAP
Of course if you’ve ever struggled to explain what you actually DO to your parents and have been met with a look of open mouthed confusion (or perhaps mum went to make a cup of tea whilst you were in mid flow) well, you’re not alone. It transpires that ONE THIRD of parents in the UK don’t know what their children actually do for a living.
Do everyone a favour and show them. Spending a few hours with mum and dad at work might seem like a bind initially, but think how much time you’ll save further down the line by not having to explain ‘what you do’ again.
Want a giggle? Check out this film:
UNDERSTANDING STRENGTHENS BONDS
Your mum wants to see your desk. That’s probably a fact. When we’ve seen a person’s space and met the people they work with, we understand them better and thus feel closer to their lives. Seeing your office, your colleagues or the amount of unwashed cups on your desk will tell your parents more than you may care to imagine. High tech jobs and confusing job descriptions are all things that widen the chasm of confusion between parents and their children. We’re not saying your parents will love you more if they see your desk, but we won’t discount it either.
TURN THE TABLES ON YOUR YOUTH
Were you ever taken to places as a child and sat down at a table somewhere with a pad of paper and some colouring pencils? Now you can do the same.
That’s a joke. Actually, do the exact opposite and get them involved. Invite them to a meeting and ask for your mum and dad’s opinion (preferably on something they will understand or have an opinion on). Invite them to meet friends, colleagues or the big cheeses. Consider asking your boss to say a few words to welcome his new troupe of unwitting consultants.
Days like these should not go wasted. Use the opportunity to shed light whilst enjoying a break from the norm.
GET TO KNOW YOUR COLLEAGUES BETTER
If the idea of bringing one or both parents into work fills you with trepidation or a murky fear of the unknown, stop right there. Remember that you’re not alone. It may be tempting to remain in your ‘bubble’ during the day, so make conscious efforts to ‘reach out’ to other colleagues and get to know them better via their parents.
If you have social facilities in the office, use them to the max. Mix up the vibe. Remember that the success of the day will be improved by a certain amount of preparation.
Think about how you can get the most out of the day according to the set-up of your work. Talk to your colleagues and see what they’d like to get out of the day in advance, so you can all feel aligned.
THE FLIP-SIDE. EMOTIONAL BUY-IN
If you’re an employer OR someone who wants to convince their employer that ‘bring a parent to work’ is a great idea, here’s food for thought.
Companies can actually see a financial pay-off by making friends with the parental community. As the Millennial generation tends to marry later, for some employees, parents have taken the role as the key people to win over. It’s worth pointing out that twenty-five percent of Millennials ask their parents for advice before taking a job. Employers should actively want to see parents getting involved – it’s a way to demonstrate how they have created the right environment for their valuable offspring.
If parents support their children’s work choices, then their children are more likely to stay with the company.
Bottom line? If your organisation isn’t going to please your top talent’s mum, you might not be able to hang on to your top talent…
Of course not all parents are able to walk into their child’s workplace, and that’s understood. If your parent(s) can’t attend, there are a number of ways that you can still make an impression and enjoy the fun of the day. Go and check out LinkedIn, which offers a whole bunch of ideas.
In the meantime, here was our favourite bit of the video linked above:
Do you want to come and see my work?
[DAD] Does it cost money to get in?
[DAD] Oh well then yes I’d like to come.
Have a great day!