As many businesses return to the office after over year of working from home, we’re assessing the “smart casual” criteria and whether (and when) it’s appropriate to put away the business suit. The Zoom fatigue is real and so are the jokes about wearing a shirt within screen view and pyjama bottoms out of shot but on returning to the workplace, have the rules changed?
Along with the idea of the ‘traditional’ workplace, the traditional office work-wear may have gone for good too. As we see many organisations accepting and embracing the benefits of a hybrid working model will this drive a demand for more smart-casual dress?
Navigating the mindfield of appropriate work attire can be daunting to say the least and upon re-entering the office for the first time in a year, could be an anxiety provoking one for many. Some studies suggest comfort is key – heels and a pencil skirt are bound to restrict productivity due to being uncomfortable, distracting focus after a year of wearing yoga-pants and slippers!
What is the answer? We’d say, whatever works for you. There are undoubtedly instances where it is important to look professional and smart and the idea of a ‘business uniform’ of sorts actually existed originally due to it’s egalitarianism, in that similar designs were worn both by commoners and the elite. Unfortunately women in business have and do get a rougher deal – with the more smart casual side often being criticised as not making enough effort and at the other end of the spectrum wearing smart business attire that cuts in, chronic pain inducing high heels and the dread of having too much skin on show.
The work-from-home era has provided many office-workers with a welcome rest from office-wear but as they are set to return, will there be changes? It does seem that employers are set to reconsider dress codes and become less rigid. Again, much like the hybrid-working model, we believe there are some real benefits to come out of this pandemic and positive changes to the working environment. A healthy combination of professionalism meets comfort should point everyone in the right direction to focus on work and be the best they can be.
As with our general approach to work and the working environment – at Wylde we focus on output, we’re presentable, we are smart when we need to be but most importantly we work hard!