Letting kids have a seat at the table

An illustration of a group video chat with a small child sitting on her dad's lap and waving hello to everyone.

We talk a lot about Wildbit being a family-friendly place to work. There’s a lot of signs of this, but there’s one that’s resonated deeply with me. More than half of us work from home, and many of us have young children. They’re old enough to open doors and walk into rooms, but they’re not always in-tune with when they shouldn’t.

Like any remote team, we all do a lot of video conferencing, and, occasionally, somebody’s little ones will wander into the office. Most video calls I’ve been on elsewhere, this is where the parent quickly hustles the child out of the room. At Wildbit, though, that doesn’t happen. Kids wander in, and they’re welcomed. They usually end up shyly saying hello, sitting quietly on their parent’s lap for a short while, and then they get bored and wander out on their own. Occasionally they’ll talk a little bit more, but it’s never a big production.

A collage of some team members with kids.
It's never really a meeting-derailing interruptions when our kids wander in on calls with other team members.

The first time this happened, I was on a call with Natalie, our CEO when her daughter walked in. It caught me off guard a little, but having two little ones myself, I was all too familiar with how closed doors have little meaning to kids. It wasn’t a big interruption, and really, it wasn’t an issue at all. We chatted a bit, and then she sauntered off. Natalie and I finished our call, and that was that.

Fast forward a couple of years, and this has happened a handful of times with various team members. It’s not common enough that it’s a problem, but it’s not infrequent enough that it’s a surprise anymore. We just roll with it.

The other day, I was thinking about it, and the important thing is that it’s less of an interruption to just let them join the conversation for a moment than it is to quickly usher them out of the room. We all still try to teach our kids to keep these pop-ins to a minimum, but we’ve realized there’s no significant benefit to trying to completely stop them. It’s just part of having kids, and letting them in on the action doesn’t hurt.

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