With stay at home orders lifting and employees returning to work, is a new office dress code on the horizon? The Society for Human Resources Management surveyed 1,000 members to find out what people have been wearing during this telecommuting season. The top new work from home fashions are:
1. Sweatpants! “60% of Americans report wearing sweatpants or athleisure wear while telecommuting according to the Alexandria-based Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM).” Turns out yoga pants are good for more than just a workout. Today recommends pairing lounge pants or sweats with a dressy or professional top to create a crossover look making it easy to go from working to lounging.
2. Pajamas. 17% of Americans surveyed report wearing pajamas when working from home these days. One person even reported wearing their slippers and pajama bottoms and putting on a professional sweater during video conferences! Psychologist Cathleen Swody does recommend getting dressed each day, saying that “Dressing pulled together helps us feel pulled together.” She goes on to suggest, “Changing into work clothes the same time you would if you were headed to the office. And change out of your work clothes when you would return home from the office. These changes shift our mental states and draws a boundary between work and home. A challenge in working from home is disengaging from work. Changing clothes will help you feel like you’re not always working."
3. Business wear. Only 6% of Americans report wearing business attire since working from home. Being in a suit at home may not be the most practical thing, especially if you’ve got kids running around. Swody recommends wearing a dressier pair of leggings, yoga pants or nicer sweats with a professional top as a work outfit to get the best of both worlds.
So, does this change in attire mean that the winds of change are in the air for workplace attire? Wall Street titan Goldman Sachs announced “a more casual environment, allowing for more ‘flexible’ attire” before the shutdown. In addition, Target in 2019 allowed their employees to start wearing jeans and Virgin Atlantic let female flight attendants wear pants. “Casual dress code trends…reflect companies' increased focus on employees rather than management,” says Jamie Notter, a workplace culture expert. With the focus on employees, could a new dress code be in order after all this?
“As businesses reopen, employers should consider reviewing their dress policies and reaffirm guidelines so executives, employees, and managers alike can ensure pajamas remain worn at home—and not at work,” Johnny C. Taylor, SHRM President and CEO said in a statement. So, it doesn’t sound like the office dress code is completely dead after all this, but while working from home, feel free to enjoy a more relaxed style!
Also, keep in mind that after all this, a relaxed dress code could help with retention and recruitment, after all, we just spent a third of the year living in loungewear.