Bobbi Thomason Publishes Article on Work-Life Balance During the Pandemic in Harvard Business Review
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many households to juggle full-time work and home lives under the same roof. Families are struggling to manage it all as employees are left without childcare. As many people postulate how the country may be forever changed by the pandemic, one hopes that a major shift will be away from the harmful assumption that a 24/7 work culture works well. Bobbi Thomason shares how organizations were built on the implicit model of an “ideal worker”, which is one who is wholly devoted to their job and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, every year of their career. Yet today, over two-thirds of American families are headed by single parents or two working parents. With schools and daycares closed, work cannot continue as normal simply because working remotely is technologically possible.
In our world of laptops, cellphones, and teleconferences, the intellectual and analytical tasks of “knowledge workers” can continue at home. But low-wage workers increasingly are subject to similar expectations of responsiveness, even as they have less job security and even less flexibility than higher paid workers. In the midst of this pandemic, store clerks, delivery drivers, and warehouse workers are now forced to be “ideal workers” too, risking exposure to the virus with little support for the families they leave to go to work. There have been many calls for restructuring how work is done, including making more room for our families and questioning the real value of the eight-hour (or more) workday. Now is the time for companies to step back and reexamine which traditional ways of working exist because of convention, not necessity. Read more.