Can We Emerge from COVID-19 with a Healthier Work Culture?


Apr 16, 2020

Naomi Hassebroek holds her son Felix while working with her husband Doug Hassebroek at their home, during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brooklyn, New York, March 19, 2020, photo by Caitlin Ochs/Reuters

Naomi and Doug Hassebroek work at their home along with son Felix, during the COVID-19 pandemic in Brooklyn, New York, March 19, 2020

Photo by Caitlin Ochs/Reuters

By Bobbi Thomason and Heather J. Williams

This commentary originally appeared on Harvard Business Review on April 16, 2020.

As if being a working parent didn't already include enough moving pieces to manage, even toddlers are now having standing teleconferences. For the two of us, our daughters' virtual morning preschool meeting is one more item to be juggled as we attempt to work full-time from home without childcare. Our own conference calls are scheduled for naptime and occasionally interrupted by a request for potty. We attempt to wedge the rest of the workday into the early mornings and post-bedtime.

The COVID-19 crisis has shoved work and home lives under the same roof for many families like ours, and the struggle to manage it all is now visible to peers and bosses. As people postulate how the country may be forever changed by the pandemic, we can hope that one major shift will be a move away from the harmful assumption that a 24/7 work culture is working well for anyone.…

The remainder of this commentary is available at

Bobbi Thomason is an assistant professor of applied behavioral science at Pepperdine Graziaidio Business School. Heather Williams is a senior policy researcher at the nonprofit, nonpartisan RAND Corporation.