Uncle Johnny, actually my great uncle, my father's mother's brother, was an old school executive. His specialty was sorting out heavy manufacturing. Late in his career, his last job, he was sent to a foundry in northeast Ohio to fix quality control and production issues. His first day there he summoned all of the managers to his office for a meeting at 2:00 in the afternoon. The men in suits all arrived, coffee cups in hand and sat around the conference table in his office. (Of course they were all men.) He looked at them and simply said, "I didn't know I had scheduled this for the time of your afternoon coffee break, I will be back in 15 minutes when your break is over." That was his way of setting a very formal workplace structure. A workplace that is not family friendly, starting with all men at the table.
Today there are more women at the table, though still not in proportion to the population in most every field. Bringing your coffee cup to a meeting is acceptable, we are seeing fewer suits. But still the most common reason we hear for women leaving the workplace, is caregiving.
Along comes the global pandemic, and home is the new office. We had a board meeting recently. On Zoom of course. We had a parent with a six-month old, a parent directing a 7 year old on remote schooling, someone taking care of a very elderly cat, and someone house-training a puppy. And you know what, the business of the business carried on. There was ooo!ing and Ahhing! at the baby and the puppy, and people saying "go ahead a take a minute" for the home teaching, and everyone seems to like a dog (who it turns out was camera shy.) Uncle Johnny would have been aghast, but caregiving is a part of life.
Is this a glimpse of the evolving workplace of the future, more blending of home and work? Being more family and caregiver friendly? I like it.