At the start of the great wave of WFH, a comment about using PTO for child care during the day scrolled by. No one can seriously be expecting people to switch to PTO each time their kid needed some attention, can they?  How could that possibly work? 7 minutes here, 22 minutes there, a few seconds in between. It would take longer to track than to take care of the need. It couldn’t work, and it won’t work.

But I bet some HR departments and some managers are trying. I bet those are the same companies and managers who expect employees to respond to emails, texts, and calls at any hour of the night or day outside normal business hours… without clocking time.

Apparently some managers are complaining that “their people” aren’t being as responsive as desired. They aren’t completing work in a “timely” fashion. Some employees are even saying “I can’t get  that done today.”  The nerve!

There are complaints about wardrobe, kids in the background, dogs in the background, backgrounds…

To paraphrase Susan Johnston (@ItsUnderstood), People are not working from home. People are staying home during a pandemic trying to work.

They are trying really hard to keep up with their work commitments as best they can. 

Employees are not automatons. They aren’t machines that can be redeployed and plugged in to work in a new location.

They are bigger and broader and richer and far more complicated and far more wonderful than what shows up in a job description. Their job is not the sum of their life. And companies do not own their time.

People want to do a good job, until unreasonable demands squash that desire. Like working from home during a pandemic as if nothing in the context has changed.

So be reasonable. Be kind.

And don’t be a dickhead to people who are at home, trying to work.

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