Sometimes you just have to laugh in the midst of enduring stress. Laughter is good medicine for the soul. In light of that, let us talk about company uniforms over the last several months. Working from home has certainly changed our concept of what constitutes acceptable work clothing.
It used to be that work uniforms were special. They used to inspire pride in the company; they used to help foster a team attitude. Uniforms in the work-at-home era have changed everything. If you are not convinced, here are three things to consider:
1. Anything Goes Now
When you work from home, your commute is as short as the walk from the bedroom to your ‘office.’ Provided you don’t plan to spend any portion of your day videoconferencing, there isn’t even a need to get out of your pajamas before you go to work. So now, anything goes.
Your work from home uniform could be the same pajamas you threw on the night before. You could wear grungy jeans and a stained T-shirt when you would otherwise dress for success in a sharp business suit. Heck, you can go to work in your bathing suit if you want to. Nobody knows because you are in the office alone.
2. You Don’t Have to Wear Pants
Maybe going to work in your pajamas isn’t your thing. Perhaps you prefer to do your best ‘Tom Cruise in Risky Business‘ impression. If you haven’t heard, GMA celebrity Christopher Reeve did just that recently. In a segment broadcast directly from Reeve’s home, visitors got to see that the son of the famous Superman actor wasn’t wearing any pants.
“Suit coat? Check. Dress shirt? Check. Pants? Nope, don’t need them.”
In fairness, broadcast professionals don’t necessarily wear professional clothing below the waist if their work has them sitting behind a desk. It’s common practice to wear formal clothes from the waist up but something more casual from the waist down. In this particular case, no pants was a bit too casual.
3. A Definition No Longer Exists
Last but not least, all of this redefining of work uniforms has left the definition of the term in shreds. We were already on thin ice thanks to workwear being defined as any clothing one might wear to work, but now even that is no longer in play.
Pajamas are suddenly workwear if you no longer see a reason to change out of them before going to your home office. So are shorts, tank tops, and even your underwear! How are we ever going to clearly define workwear again?
It is easy to imagine fashion magazines dropping the workwear topic altogether. Why go down that road and risk angry comments from readers who find trolling highly entertaining? It’s not worth the trouble. It is just safer to stop talking about work uniforms altogether.
Benefits of Work Uniforms
All kidding aside, the right uniform really does make a difference at work. Uniforms bring a lot of good things to the table. They improve branding and image. As the company that pioneered uniform rental more than 100 years ago, Alsco says that this applies to healthcare uniforms just as much as it does for food and beverage uniforms. They build office morale. They act as a nice fringe benefit that enhances an employee’s total compensation.
At some point the work-at-home trend will go by the wayside. Most of us who went to work before the COVID-19 pandemic struck will resume doing so. And yes, we will return to wearing the work clothing we used to wear. Until then, all bets are off. Go to work in whatever makes you comfortable. Just be sure to include pants.