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Parents' Day At The Office: The Latest Idea In Office Perks Gives Managers Much To Consider

An idea first introduced by LinkedIn, that of hosting a "Take Your Parents to Work Day," seems to have caught fire.

In 2013, LinkedIn began inviting parents of employees to visit their adult children at the office after commissioning a study that found one-third of parents do not know what their children do at work.

Today, organizations like HubSpot, British Airways, and the Virgin Group have embraced this idea and created their own special day in which workers are encouraged to invite parents to their workplace.

Management consultants see the trend as an understandable extension of the type of upbringing many Millennial and Generation Z employees experienced, with a high level of parental engagement in their lives. Surprisingly, however, LinkedIn found that employees of all ages were asking for their parents to participate in the event.

A few downsides noted by consultants include parents disrespecting boundaries when visiting or later encouraging their children to leave a workplace they personally did not like. Also, some managers may find interacting with parents an unnecessary and disagreeable task.

Nevertheless, younger workers are much closer to their parents than past generations and may appreciate an employer's efforts to include them in their work life. Dana Wilkie "Take Mom and Dad to Work: Is This Helicopter Parenting Gone Mad?" www.shrm.org (Jan. 18, 2019).

If your organization takes on a parent visitation day, as a manager, your job is to be gracious, respectful, and informative. Note that parents are evaluating their children's workplace and that includes you. Respectfulness doesn't hurt anyone and can help retain employees, especially those new to the workplace.

Be sure to leave room for exceptions in the policy; for example, don't discipline or otherwise call out employees who decline to participate. Be sure to allow for employees without parents or those who do not want their parents to attend for some reason to instead share their work experience with a grandparent or other older adult relative.

Work with your human resources department to implement special physical safety rules when older adults are in the workplace. Respect designated restricted areas, for example.

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