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  Offices can be inefficient, productivity-killers, especially with old-school managers and their outdated management styles at the helm.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.

An Open Letter

Dear Colleagues, Friends, and Office Compatriots,

It’s been some time since I’ve delved into the riskier side of the fashion scene. Unfortunately, today was the day I decided to wade into the shallow end of the fashion faux pas kiddie pool. Oh, who am I kidding, I took a dive into the deep end.  It could be argued that I’m rebelling against the establishment.  A coup against good taste, one might say. But no. It was more just a dim moment of a girl, standing in front of a closet, desperately trying to find something clean to wear.

You see, I’ve forgotten that my *ahem* ample thighs and corduroy don’t mix and, together, they become quite symphonic. Though not in a good way, say like Pentatonix.  I wish. The only item of clothing I can think of that might be noisier would be an outfit fashioned entirely of SunChips bags. (I mean, honestly, have you tried opening a SunChips bag on the sly?  Not gonna happen.) But alas, all I have are my corduroys … and thighs.

And for someone who hates drawing attention to oneself, well, you can perhaps see my dilemma – and shame.  On a side note, the heat generated from the friction of these corduroy pants rubbing against my Rubenesque thighs could very well be the solution to the world’s renewable energy needs. I’ll have to study this further – or in other words, examine the rash at home later. For in addition to sketchy fashion decisions, there is a definite lack of talcum powder.

It didn’t take long for me to realize that unless I stand motionless in one corner of my office all day (à la Blair Witch) and never move (which is sort of creepy unless you’re really really into uber-eccentric performance art), I will be creating the sort of noise that slowly drives people insane. You know what I mean. Like hearing your child trying to slurp up the last bit of milkshake through a straw… over and over and over. You just want to yell… “It’s GONE! FFS!”  But you don’t. Because it’s your child. And that would be wrong. I’m hoping you have the same patience with me today. I may not be a child, but I do sometimes make the same bad decisions that result in a similarly irritating noise. **waving at my outfit**

I would offer noise-cancelling headphones, but those are hard to come by right now, because, you know, Christmas.  And COVID. Tech products remain elusive at best. The Sharper Image is sold out.  I checked.

Instead, all I can offer are my apologies and beg for your indulgence. Have no fear – that loud “VOOP VOOP VOOP VOOP” isn’t indicative of something terribly wrong with the heating system. Nor is it a ginormous itchy dog scuttling along the corridor… dragging his you know what.

It’s just me. In my corduroys.