Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in early March, all non-essential workers have adapted from life inside an office to life inside your home. Routines like commutes, coffee runs, desk lunches, and office chitchat have been paused as workers continue to social distance from their homes.
The remote lifestyle has likely changed just about everything in your day-to-day especially your wardrobe. The days of waking early to iron out wrinkles in shirts seem as distant as high school as Americans ditch the suits and dresses for comfort. Whether it’s dressing in athleisure or the same t-shirt twice a week, the COVID-19 crisis has allowed workers to find some comfort in what we wear when we log in remotely for work.
While the workforce has embraced a more relaxed dress code in recent years by allowing workers to show up in jeans, what the dress code will be when workers return to work remains an interesting topic. As companies grapple with hesitant employees fearing to return to the office too soon, there could be ways of making workers feel more at ease perhaps starting with an even-more relaxed dress code.
But will corporate offices embrace a change? While Patagonia vests have become the norm of Wall Street, can workers start coming into the office wearing the gym shorts they’ve been wearing while working from home?
Robert Half jobs expert Kim Garstein told Ladders a more lenient dress code could be in the making when workers return to the office following the coronavirus pandemic.
“Professionals are coming to a different work environment after COVID-19, and employers are adapting to these changes which may include dress codes,” Garstein said. “Post-pandemic employees will have different expectations and companies will need to reassess priorities and make meaningful changes that will improve the work environment for their staff, and this may include dress codes getting more lenient. That said, employees should continue to put their best foot forward in all facets as we navigate the new norm post-pandemic.”
While one in three workers said they would pass up an extra $5,000 for a more relaxed dress code at work, Garstein said that the way you dress still has value in the office.
“Despite the shifts in the workplace due to COVID-19, dressing professionally still holds much value in the workforce, giving people credibility and showing they fit in with the work environment. By dressing appropriately for meetings, whether it be in the office or via Zoom video calls, you project a professional image and understanding of the business culture. Dressing professionally gives people credibility,” she said.