Take a 70 foot long hallway, overhead lighting on timers, chairs with wheels, an abundant supply of paper and a common area with a wall mount TV and what do you get? The office play zone, a place where mom or dad can take the kids while they squeeze in a little extra work time over the weekend.
Our kids haven’t spent much time with me at the office in the recent past. Before they started school it wouldn’t be uncommon to bring them in for a couple of hours on a weekend afternoon. This visit marks a special occasion. I am cleaning in preparation for retirement, sifting through nearly 20 years of files looking for gems that have enough value to pass down.
The girls makes this wrap up a lot less wistful. Their hide and seek shenanigans, the stop clock races from one end of the floor to the other keep pulling me back into the moment enjoying the fun they’re making. Their presence is a bright buzz, a beacon of exuberance and creativity
The girls have no prescribed norms or conventions regarding the office, or for that matter work. Transforming the commonplace and sometimes humdrum to to wonderment and discovery is a magical sleight of hand. Not too much discovery though – a few basic ground rules ensure a relatively disaster free time.
- Only use common spaces – no exploring individual offices.
- Do not be tempted to give the office machinery a whirl. We’re talking photocopiers, shredders, fax machines (they still exist!!), etc.
- Be respectful of the space and furnishings.
- Be responsible and clean up any mess you make.
A stash of bubble wrap that I had squirreled away with the intention of bringing home becomes the prop with pop. It has real start attraction when I break it out. What other plastic provides such simple fun.
Our workplace’s social highlight of the year is the Kids’ Xmas Party. It’s a full morning of snacks, games and Santa. Off in a room all its own is the box extravaganza a hit since it was introduced a few years ago.
A bit more play, a little more out of the box – could be a kick start for creativity. I treasure this last office play date with the girls – a great way to honour the past and embrace the now.