Writes Carlene Jackson, CEO of Cloud9 Insight

She recently enjoyed a toddler's first steps during a company video conference and says it's time to embrace families in the workplace

We've all enjoyed a laugh at recent TV news programmes where live interviews were interrupted by toddlers demanding "two biscuits" or wanting to show off a picture of a unicorn.

Parents laugh the most because it's the kind of scenario that's been happening on a daily basis since lockdown was imposed. I've been working from home (WFH), talking to clients, staff and journalists via video link, always aware that one of my three children could come marching in at any point - once or twice my youngest has.

Since we started WFH, we've all found out a lot more about one another's home lives. As time has gone by, our work and home personas have merged.

During one call, we had our own child invasion moment, when a staff member's toddler took their first few steps. No embarrassment here, it was magical.

As WFH becomes the norm, we can all expect more of these family interruptions during our working days. In fact, families and personal lives have always been there, we just used to hide them away.

When you give them the option, people choose to work in a variety of different ways. Some are early risers, others are night owls. We all have our different rhythms and so peak performance comes at different times. But, also, people work best when they know their loved ones are being cared for and don't need their attention.

Business leaders should be proactive in ensuring work and family life are healthy and inclusive. Staff with dependents should be given greater flexibility and they need to feel confident to raise family issues, without feeling they will be punished for doing so.

The workplace is changing and Covid-19 has accelerated these trends. The businesses that are going to succeed are those which embrace inclusivity. Many companies struggle to hold on to female talent over the age of 30 and this is to their detriment.

As the world rapidly changes, we will need diversity of thought to solve the new and complex problems that come our way. We need parents and carers in that mix. Women will benefit from an inclusive workplace culture but so will men who want, and often do, take responsibility for their children or aged dependants.

So, thank goodness for those child invaders, who've reminded us in such a vivid way that we all have families. After all, they are what motivates us to work in the first place.