I get where you’re coming from and perhaps it’s not as clear, I don’t subscribe to overworking, multitasking or being disrespectful. With anything you need to know when to switch off and when to focus but the mindset that it’s a switch where work will not be affected by anything non-work related or visa versa is just not possible — a family death will impact someone’s productivity at work — we shouldn’t punish them for that or call them unprofessional.
We’re all familiar with this guy, right?
I’m sure he spent a lot of time planning to ensure that his kids wouldn’t disrupt him, he flicked that switch into work mode and was sure he was going to be “professional”, no longer in parent mode. However, he was at home and kids, pets, etc are the collateral of being at home.
In fact this would have likely turned into a non-event if he just embraced it and picked his daughter up and let her join the call. However since he was in “work” mode he chose to ignore them, to stay “professional”.
Any manager who doesn’t expect these kinds of situations to happen whilst their people are working remotely and perceive it as unprofessional, is precisely the problem I’m referring too — this dichotomy — how stressful do you think that makes working remotely for people as a result? They’ll be sure to cancel birthdays, miss first days of school, etc all because they don’t want to be mortified and end up like this guy.
Or you could be like many organisations and embrace it, encourage it even. There’s no reason why someone can’t still be professional and have their daughter sitting on their lap during a conference call.
Yes there’s still separation, I’m actually not a fan of the concept of ‘work-life-integration’ either — it made the rounds after HBR wrote about it, as usual.
My point is that it's not so black and white. I just want us all to be a little more human.