Technology has changed the face of the modern workplace. It’s no longer uncommon to get work-related texts, calls, and emails in the evenings and on weekends. The line between work and home is blurry and indistinct. This suits some people just fine – but can make other people feel stressed and unhappy.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Sue Shellenbarger suggests that there are two types of people in the workplace:

  • Integrators – These are the people who are able to seamlessly combine work and home activities. They don’t mind sending out emails and taking calls while stuck in traffic or sitting on their couch in the evening. They’re good at multitasking and don’t feel the need to have separate, personal time.
  • Separators – These are the people who see work-related texts and emails as an intrusion into their personal time. They want their work and home lives to be separate – and when work intrudes, they react negatively.

Unfortunately, there can sometimes be conflict between these two types of people. Integrators might think that Separators aren’t dedicated enough. (If they’re willing to work on weekends, why aren’t their coworkers?) Meanwhile, Separators can see Integrators as demanding and intrusive.

So what can be done to bring peace and harmony to the office? Well, both types of people feel happiest when they can control when and how they get their work done. Integrators love to multitask, and shouldn’t be prevented from sending out late-night emails. But they also have to be respectful of the other people that they’re working with, and not expect to get an immediate response. Separators need to keep their home life and their work life separate. So they should be clear about what they consider to be “personal time” and let their colleagues know that they’ll be unavailable during these periods.


Shellenbarger, S. (2016, March 29). Late-night work email: Blessing or curse? The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from