Has The Pandemic Affected The Way You Dress For Work?
Why You Shouldn’t Emerge from Working at Home Looking Too Casual for Business!
Now that you’re going out of the house again and interacting with people outside – be it for social reasons or as part of your business or job – thinking of what to wear is only natural.
Because of the fact that you’ve been working from home, the need to head to a clothing store has been the last thing on your mind for the past couple of months. But as more positive signs emerge, especially so in the business world, I am seriously thinking that it may be time for something new in my own work clothes wardrobe – even if just to spark a little much-needed joy!
In my normal, non-pandemic-quarantine life, I’m leaving the house six days a week, so yeah, I’m always dressed in my signature business outfit and I’m constantly ensuring that I look neat and personable. But things have changed somewhat these days, haven’t they?
Like it or not, the new work-from-home reality has rapidly recalibrated the fashion code for professional wear, and that may spell trouble for the retailers who sell formal office clothing. After all, with more work calls and team meetings now taking place from one’s home, office or work wear has become decidedly more relaxed…
True, it’s a shift that’s been occurring for years, as employers in more formal industries like financial services competed for talent with tech companies and upstarts that had their own, more laid-back work cultures. But nothing has changed the whole business and workwear scene more drastically and quickly that the pandemic, am I not right?
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March, all non-essential workers have adapted from life inside an office to life inside their own homes. Routines like daily work commutes, office lunches, chilling at the favourite mamak or bar post-work, and office chitchat have been paused as workers focussed on social distancing and working from their homes.
So, it shouldn’t be surprising that this whole remote lifestyle has gravely affected something as important to our day-to-day as our work wardrobe. The days of waking up early to iron out wrinkles in shirts seem as distant as the planet Mars as Malaysians everywhere ditch the shirts and dresses, and put on something that’s more comfortable. Whether it’s dressing in sportswear or t-shirt for the workweek, the COVID-19 crisis has allowed everyone 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 at the office?
But will businesses and corporate offices embrace a change?
Professionals are coming to a different work environment after COVID-19, and employers are adapting to these changes which may include new dress codes. 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.
But with all that said, you should also continue to put your best foot forward in all facets as everyone navigates the new norm post-pandemic lah!
Dressing professionally still holds much value while conducting business or official work, it gives you credibility and shows that you’re fully back in business mode! 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. And in this image-driven world, believe me – dressing well gives people plenty of credibility!
So yes, my friends… please do not neglect your shirt ironing, ok?