October 30, 2020

You Better Put Pants on Before Your Firm Decides to Implement a Work From Home Dress Code

Remember way back in March when the world came to a stop and offices everywhere shut their doors to employees, driving many of us inside? I distinctly remember the collective sentiment being something like “well, whatever, it’ll be over in a few weeks.” In fact, when my own state’s governor locked us down until the beginning of June I recall thinking that seemed like a lifetime away, consoling myself with the idea that all I had to do was make it to June and then everything would be right with the world again. Oh, if only I could go back in time and tell myself I’m an idiot.

Here we are all these months later and while some things have returned to “normal” (or whatever passes as “normal” in this wacky dimension), most of you are still working from home and will be for the foreseeable future. No biggie, not like you could change it even if you wanted to.

Given the abrupt nature of the lockdown in spring, it stands to reason that firms didn’t have much time to think about what an entire workforce billing hours at home would look like from a management perspective. Bad managers’ neuroses aside, one area we’re sure no one really considered was the work-from-home dress code.

We addressed the issue back in May after a Fishbowl survey found 1 in 10 professionals are showing up to Zoom calls in their Calvins. Remember that next time you feel guilty for video conferencing in pajamas. Well, it might be worse than that now.

A recent CouponFollow survey of slightly more than 1,000 remote workers found a whopping 29% of respondents admitted to working naked while at home. Who are these people? And how is that possibly comfortable? Whatever.

Anyhoo. Despite the fact that the survey also found that most workers feel productive even in gym clothes, it should be noted that the HR people are starting to think this WFH thing could be a problem. Case in point, this recent article from SHRM:

“Before COVID-19, a work-from-home dress-code policy would have seemed like a strange concept,” said Megan Toth, an attorney with Seyfarth in Chicago. “But, with the recent increase of remote workers and videoconferences, this has become a real issue for some employers.”

Our advice? First, throw on some pants, your office chair will appreciate not getting tea-bagged all day. Second, although it’s a bit hypocritical of me to suggest considering I’m working at this very moment in boxers and a T-shirt, maybe think about changing into a clean shirt and/or brushing your hair next time you’re on camera with colleagues. Hopefully y’all haven’t turned into feral savages just yet and have managed to at least put on a clean dress shirt for client chats, so we won’t get into all that.

Are work from home dress codes on the horizon? Time will tell. But you can bet if HR gets wind of you free-balling during Zoom calls there will at least be a sternly-worded email about appropriate conduct during video conferences.

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1 Comment

  1. WFH isn’t a problem because of lack of proper professional attire. It’s a problem because people spend very little time actually working during the day. It’s the same problem that existed with WFH before the pandemic.

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