Commercial buildings are typically designed with adults in mind, but visiting children are a frequent occurrence. As the property manager, you are liable for children safety in your commercial building. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Mark your calendars — Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day (TYDSTWD) is April 26. This serves as a great reminder, as it is not uncommon for many children to visit commercial buildings frequently throughout the year. If you own or manage a commercial building, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with safety concerns and precautions when kids visit your space, both on this day and throughout the year.
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Having children visit the office is an exciting thing! However, a lack of preparedness, or unclear/misunderstood guidelines can create risks for property managers and landlords. A lack of communication can also cause bad feelings among tenants and employees. A few rules, understood by everyone ahead of time, can maximize what is typically a pleasant experience of a child’s visit in a commercial space.
Keep these tips and reminders handy, and discuss them with your tenants:
Make sure your tenants agree to participate in TYDSTWD.
There are usually no forms or waivers to complete, with the possible exception of a government building. Have your tenants review any special requirements or exceptions you may have.
Review your risk management and work practices policies.
This is always a good task to complete, whether the kids are in the office or not.
Make it official.
If you don’t already have one, develop a detailed child safety policy and implement it. This policy can include rules on personal conduct, including personal and professional boundaries, ethical behavior and the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behavior.
Realize that not all tenants are experienced with children.
Consider creating a list of do’s and don’ts, as well as safety precautions and considerations, so there is no doubt or gray areas.
Keep confidential information tucked away.
Although more and more information is kept in the cloud these days, it’s possible for kids to get ahold of both electronic and paper documents that can stir trouble if missing. That’s especially true in a business or medical office. Be sure to lock away any important papers ahead of time and have your tenants closely supervise any child computer time.
Find out if you need extra liability coverage for children.
In most cases, children are allowed the same liability rights as any other visitor in the building. You more than likely won’t need to purchase extra coverage, but it is best to check with your provider in order to have no doubts.
Always make sure the children are supervised.
During the course of a busy day, it’s easy to lose track of children. Depending on their age, never let them wander the halls alone, not even to the bathroom. If you can’t escort them, prepare a buddy system.
Avoid unannounced visits.
Not everybody is comfortable with children, or feel that their space is especially kid friendly. Tenants should get permission ahead of time instead of bringing the child on a spontaneous visit.
Be aware of the impact of your words and actions in front of young children.
Remember that once the child enters the space, the dynamics change, and they could be sensitive to the things that tenants say and do.
Discourage extremely young children from visiting.
Younger children- infants, toddlers- are often a distraction and a frequent interruption. You may want to try to stress the preference for older children (i.e. age 8 and older, or more specifically, age 8-18).
Make sure file cabinets are kept closed.
Often, drawers that slide open can tip the cabinet and hurt both children and adults.
Keep hallways and stairs free of clutter.
Cluttered spaces can trigger a tripping hazard. Also, don’t stretch electrical cords across walkways or under rugs. See more stair safety tips here.
Walk, don’t run!
Make sure this rule is given to every visiting child.
It’s easy to forget that children are not familiar with property rules and regulations, and often do not possess maturity or judgement skills when it comes to workplace hazards. Kids are naturally curious, or they may be afraid to ask an important question for fear of feeling “dumb.” It will be up to you and your tenants to be as prepared as possible when allowing kids into your commercial space.
You can increase your peace of mind when visitors come calling with Kings III emergency communications. Our service includes the installation and maintenance of all phones, as well as emergency monitoring services. Our goal is your property’s safety and protecting your management liability. We’re here to help. For more information on Kings III, visit www.kingsiii.com.