The New Business Casual

Here in the U.S., we just hit an improbable milestone:  one year in quarantine. For those of us who had to adjust from office life to the work-from-home grind, it wasn’t easy at first. What even is the work day without an office? What about happy hour? What about lunch with my coworkers? What about happy hour? What about those gossip sessions by the water cooler? What about happy hour?

Well, I learned pretty quickly that I am just fine in my PJs all day. To be honest, I wonder why we don’t just go ahead and embrace the future and make pajamas the new business casual? When we hop on those Zoom meetings, we know damn well our coworkers are not in fact wearing pants. They threw on a shirt and the rest of the so-called outfit be damned.  Out of sight, out of mind, as they say. At this point, are we even sitting at our desks all day? Probably not. So, why don’t we get rid of the office altogether and work from home in our robes forever?

During the last year, a lot of businesses realized they could do just fine – or even better, without the office setting. Working remotely was always a good business model, it’s just that now the corporate powers that be are starting to appreciate it.  Working from home keeps employees happy and happy employees are loyal employees, and loyal employees are long-term employees. Allowing folks to work from home reduces overhead, ensures talent longevity (a cost savings in itself), and it’s surprisingly productive. Though, maybe not all that surprising after all.  Offices can be inefficient, productivity-killers, especially with old-school managers and their outdated management styles at the helm.

Maybe too, as the talent, we’re starting to realize we don’t have to tolerate the daily grind. Were you afraid to apply for that job across the country before? Well, now not only can you apply, but you might not even have to move. Working remotely has made workplaces more inclusive, and they can hire from anywhere. You’re also going to save a bunch of money if you continue to work remotely. No more commuting, buying business clothes or going out to lunch every day. No more ‘happy hour’ with those coworkers you hate, either. Okay, well, maybe we’ll keep the happy hour.

In the before times, many people spent at least an hour commuting to and from work. Not to mention getting up early to get ready to go into the office and face other human beings all day, every freakin’ day.  Spending less time preparing for and getting to the workplace gives us more time to do the actual work. And at the end of the day, it gives us more down time.

When you’re working remotely, your office can be anywhere. You can decorate it however you want, and when things become safe again, you can pack up those pajamas and hit the road for some travel without taking any time off. The world is your office when you’re working from home!

If you’re chomping at the bit to get back into the office, good for you. Working from home definitely isn’t for everyone.  For those of us who have embraced a life of robes and slippers with no commute, we hope work from home is here to stay.

8 thoughts on “The New Business Casual

  1. my job, from which I retired mid-pandemic, was always work from home and I loved it. A few coworkers tried it and quit because they found it too hard to focus on work amidst the distractions of home. The majority however shared my appreciation of the flexibility you describe. Similarly nurses who work home health appreciate the self scheduling and autonomy not part of a job in hospital settings. As everywhere, different strokes for different folks.

  2. I worked from home for a couple of years 1996-8, I couldn’t adjust to it and was so glad when I could go back to an office. I am retired now and work from home all the time.

  3. Aotearoa New Zealand had only six weeks of lockdown from the end of March to the beginning of May 2020, and during that time many larger businesses made changes that have become permanent. A great many realised there was no need to house employees in expensive city centre office blocks and have encouraged employees to work from home and/or moved their offices to the suburbs. The change in practice was so dramatic that both central government and local government actively promoted the return of businesses to city centres as many were on the verge of dying – especially cafes, restaurants and the like.

    To me it seems the wrong way of viewing the changes. It’s a little like encouraging people to use horse drawn transport instead of motorised transport in order to keep farriers and city stables in business. Times change.

Comments are closed.