The #WFH Series: The Question of Pants

As I mentioned last time, a lot of people, by their own admission, haven’t even been outside their homes/apartments in months. Some of them are lucky enough to be employed during that time.

So I’m continuing to explore the impact of extended work from home (#WFH on the social medias, or #WTFH for the salty), of course, raises a ton of questions about work habits and social norms. This is the second in the series.

The question today is about pants. But it’s about so much more than that, too.

I’m a guy who likes to dress up for work. I wear ties even when I don’t need to wear ties; I’m known for it. It all actually stems from a weird incident years ago where I committed to that bit specifically because someone mouthed off at me for wearing a tie. From that point forward, it was ties every day but Friday. It’s carried over through several jobs, too.

I kept the bit about wearing a tie alive for more than a decade. I was known as the guy who wore a tie at work when it wasn’t required. I even kept dressing for work, tie included, when we were all first ordered to tremble in place.

Over time even I cracked. We’ve even established that I’ve relaxed my smell code.

So I’m wondering how far others have slipped during this “unprecedented time.” And since they started on a different part of the scale than I did, it’s going to be interesting to see where the compromises are made.

But we will go back into work locations at some point. We have to do that, and for many reasons people don’t seem to take into account. But that’s a discussion for another time. Let’s just accept that we do have to go back into the office at some point in the future.

When we do, will there be a revolt against workplace dress codes?

If people have proven they can do their jobs remotely and, more to the point, do them in relaxed clothing, won’t it seem an imposition to do that work anything more formal than T-shirts and shorts?

Again, I’m not advocating for this idea. I like to dress nicely; when you dress nicely your mind and your mood go to a different place. It doesn’t need to be a three-piece suit, but “business” dress reminds you of certain expectations of your behavior.

But the longer we go without invoking the expectations of dress codes, I think it’s going to get exponentially harder to get people to re-adopt them. People will have to slowly warm up to them and there is a non-trivial chance that they could push back.

After all, behavioral norms themselves at work are also going to keep shifting the longer this all continues. Dress code will be a part of that shift, but the larger part ties into what I’ll be writing about tomorrow.

This watch is ridiculous.
Photo by The Lazy Artist Gallery on