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Has society gone from too formal to too lazy?

Been a lot of talk in here lately about appropriate workplace attire and working from home and it has me thinking about the impact of my generation (millennials) on the workplace and society's norms as a whole.


50 years ago, social norms were very formal compared to what goes on today. Men wore full suits to the office, and even stay at home moms got dressed and groomed for the day. People wore their best attire on airplanes and to restaurants and there was a certain amount of decorum when it came to conversation - politics, religion, money, and sex were not polite topics of conversation unless you knew that person intimately.


Now we're at a point where it seems like everyone wants to work from home in their pajamas, people go to steakhouses in ballcaps and sweat pants, people treat airplanes like their personal bedroom and bathroom, and every second person feels perfectly fine loudly sharing opinions about sensitive subjects to anyone nearby, including in the workplace.


I'm not suggesting we go back to the 50s but I do feel like we could use some formality these days. Do we all need to wear suits to the office? No. But I do have the opinion that t shirts and jeans generally do not belong in the workplace (unless that's what your prospect wears and you're building rapport...money over errythang,) and that MOST people function better in an office or hybrid environment rather than permanently working from home. Do I think it's always inappropriate to discuss politics? No, but I don't think it's appropriate to talk about in a work meeting when you don't even know half the people there.


In regards to the workplace, with the emergence of technology over the past two decades, people are more connected to work than ever. I think all of us have answered a work email/call after hours, and obviously there's no getting away from thinking about work on the weekends or evenings when you're in a role like ours. Since there's no getting away from the mental connection, is it so bad that we create some physical distinction between our home and office lives? Not wearing what we do to our backyard BBQ to the office, or talking to our colleagues differently than we'd talk to our closest friends or family?


I probably sound prudish here and I know my opinion will be unpopular for some, but I'm curious to know everyone's thoughts on this.



🏄 Personal Life
🤖 Office Life
26
Chep
WR Officer
+10
Business Development Team Lead
I think technology has and will continue to drastically change our ethics as a society. It's crazy to think, but I'm sure there will come a point when our children's children will look at us as barbaric for having babies naturally rather than in test tubes. So to answer your question I see your point but personally think the world needs more empathy > formality discussing politics, sex, finances is hard because everyone is so polarized, but I don't think it is bad we discuss these things. Rather I think we need to try and understand other peoples perspectives which could ultimately help us better understand why we hold such strong beliefs regardless of if they were in line or completely opposite of the person we were speaking with🤝😎
funcoupons
WR Officer
+11
Kahluapons
Thanks for sharing!

I enjoy discussing those topics, but feel like a lot of people have just totally lost their filter and can't differentiate between a lively debate between willing friends and getting up on a soapbox at the team huddle to share your opinions about the president when nobody asked.

Empathy is a big one...I think technology has hurt people's ability to empathize. It's easy to talk shit from a keyboard anonymously or through social media - 99% of those people would never say it to a live person's face but technology helps them forget that there is a human being on the other end.
Chep
WR Officer
+10
Business Development Team Lead
"99% of those people would never say it to a live person's face but technology helps them forget that there is a human being on the other end." Just wanted to emphasize this point again because I couldn't agree more
WCK
Politicker
+8
Padre de Tequila
I agree in that we may be overcorrecting, unsurprisingly. And to add to that, I think there WILL be a balance. Now I will admit I wear jeans and a button down or polo into the office, and I'll also admit I'm currently in the midst of another product pitch in sweats and a gym shirt. One of the harder things for me in my initial exposure to WFH was properly mentally separating the mindset that I am WORKING from home, not home from work. There's definitely a line that should be drawn to an extent, but there's also rarely a need for full formality as a whole.  So yeah, not off the mark 'Pons. Not in the slightest.
funcoupons
WR Officer
+11
Kahluapons
I'm also guilty of wearing my sweats while WFH but I never feel as good or productive as when I put on some decent clothes and/or work from the office lol. Just my experience.

I agree we've been overcorrecting and a happy medium is needed. Jeans and a button down/polo is different than jeans and a hoodie, for sure.
WCK
Politicker
+8
Padre de Tequila
Ya I don't really feel as productive when I'm in gym clothes v. more actual workwear so I get you. Again, it's balance.
BigMeech
WR Officer
+11
Coors Light Advocate
Just slowly continuing the trend to becoming the chair bound people in Wall-E

I think there is a lot of good that stems from technological and social advances, as well as unintended side effects. I agree with Chep, I’m sure there will be something 50-100 years from know that kids learn in school and have the same reaction… “how the hell did they live like that”

I do think one of the unintended side effects is people are becoming more self centered in that they get “triggered” by differing perspectives, which is not conducive to a professional working environment.
funcoupons
WR Officer
+11
Kahluapons
A trip to Wal Mart tells me that some people are already there.

1000% agreed with the self centeredness of people...I also think we've become way too sensitive and politically correct to the point where you can't say ANYTHING without some people searching for a sinister meeting or to get offended.
Incognito
WR Officer
+10
Master of Disaster
Is it that people are more easily “triggered”, or that there is more than one acceptable narrative in society? 

Being a gay BIPOC would never have even been something people were exposed to in the workplace, let alone having more than one opinion about it. 
BigMeech
WR Officer
+11
Coors Light Advocate
I think it’s both, more exposure to new things AND people are very closed minded due to the rise of social media and experience bubbles and so have trouble with new thoughts/opinions/situations, etc
Show 1 more replies
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+11
Needer of Life Alert
I still dress for work even though I work from home. One, it helps keep me on a routine. Two, why wouldn't I want to look super fly on camera? Eventually we are going to be face to face with clients and our teammates. I don't want memories of me to be ratchet.
funcoupons
WR Officer
+11
Kahluapons
Haha, I'm with ya there. If nobody is seeing me that day I still at minimum change out of pajamas and do some basic grooming. If people are seeing me I put in the same amount of effort into grooming as I would for an in person meeting. 

I've seen people show up on camera for work meetings looking like they just came off a three day drug bender and slept in an alley and it's just like...why.
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+11
Needer of Life Alert
Oh no that's not cool. You company should send out a dress code. Ours did, and it's kept that kind of shit in check.
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Rallier
Politicker
+9
Account Executive
Was it better back in those days? Or are we slowly realizing that none of those things were necessary?

I don't see anything wrong with wearing what I wear to a backyard BBQ to the office. It just makes things more convenient! I could go from work directly there, without having to worry about changing. I

Morality and ethics evolve over time and we aren't ever going to move backwards to the way things were. 

I'm under the mindset that you have adapt to the future, not think about what happened in the past.
funcoupons
WR Officer
+11
Kahluapons
Thanks for sharing!

Not sure if it was better - tough to say when none of us were adults during that time. I think some things were better, and some things were worse. For example, I think people took relationships/marriage more seriously, for instance. But in the same breath, mental health concerns were often swept under the rug. 

I'd like to see a future where we don't try and completely divert from the past...I mean, the past got us here so there must have been some good things about the way things were back then. But agree that we also must adapt and look for newer and better ways of doing things.
youKNOW
Politicker
+7
Sales Manager
F*ck...a post I had to think about.

For sure people have gotten a lot more comfortable being informal. Before I got in to sales I did financial analysis at a well respected hospital here in SoCal, and our "casual" days were khakis and button downs.

I remember going to friends offices that were working in "dot-bomb" era tech companies and I couldn't believe what I was seeing in terms of attire. 

I think you're right that a lot of that informality has translated in to everything we do...to the point that it's ruining things that should be formal.

I will say that I have seen some regionality to the work place dress that I've come across. Bay Area tends to be a little more jeans and poloish. NYC area tended to be better dressed overall (at least when I had customers there. SoCal is all over the place.
funcoupons
WR Officer
+11
Kahluapons
"Informality has translated in to everything we do...to the point that it's ruining things that should be formal."

Love that. Formal is fun sometimes, it's a nice escape from the mundane. At minimum, would love to see people ditch the cartoon character pajama pants in the airport and not have to see someone's underwear when going to the grocery store. It just really shows that some people have no pride in themselves, which I'm sure translates to their self esteem and confidence level. 
youKNOW
Politicker
+7
Sales Manager
Exactly...and I'll pose a question...WHY ARE FACE TATOOS A THING NOW?
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BallerOfTheYear
Arsonist
+5
Señor Biz Dev
To quote Gordon Ramsay: “where are your standards?”

To me it’s unfathomable to respect yourself so little as to not want to present yourself in the most favourable light. 

That means dressing like success, acting in a manner which others will respect, being thoughtful and courteous, not letting yourself go physically, etc.

How sad is it when you’re afraid to return to the office because you’ll be expected to shower and press a button up shirt rather than wearing your workout clothes all day.

Most don’t want to acknowledge it but it comes down to self respect, it takes work, and most use wfh as an excuse.

I wear every single chain even when I’m in the house, personally.
funcoupons
WR Officer
+11
Kahluapons
Fire response, thank you! 
MrsTechSales
Politicker
+9
Midwest Market Manager
I love the questions you pose in this post. I've noticed that the 'connectedness' that technology is driving seems to make some people misinterpret work relationships. Adding co-workers on social media blurs the line of what role they can/should play in your life. 
I've noticed more and more people commenting on the private lives of peers while in office, even if in jest, but at the same time if you declined that 'follow request' it will likely cause tension. 

I know it's not the spirit of your post, but you certainly made me think critically about why I let some of the people I work with get under my skin. Probably because I'm looking at them as a friend I didn't ask for instead of a coworker who I only see M-F. 
funcoupons
WR Officer
+11
Kahluapons
Definitely. For years I've kept a pretty hard line between colleagues and my private life until I really get to know them and decide I want to be friends with them outside of work. Never saw the advantages of adding them on social media or sharing a bunch of details...especially with managers...why the fuck do people have their managers on social media???
MrsTechSales
Politicker
+9
Midwest Market Manager
I had a manager once schedule a meeting with me to ask why I removed her from my social media. "Well, Sharon, because that was 19yr old me that added you and 23yr old me has since decided that was a bad idea."
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leb0ng
Big Shot
+3
VP of Sales
The formality/informality of "workplace attire" is very regional. If you show up for a sales preso in a suit jacket in Seattle, you'll be damaging your image in most offices. But in the midwest, it's non-negotiable.

It's not black & white, but you're not wrong. Things have trended in that direction, largely because Silicon Valley became as big as NY (in terms of revenue/global impact) and they didn't give a fuck for years about what you wore - just what you made.
SaaSam
Opinionated
+4
Account Executive
I'm personally a fan of a little formality but I don't think the problem comes from talking about certain subjects. I think it comes from the unfortunate attitude that my opinions are the only ones that matter. I love talking to people of different backgrounds and opinions than my own. Love learning how other folks tick. Some of my closest friends disagree strongly with a lot of my opinions.
DBook
Politicker
+6
Office Based Sales
I think that technology is one of the biggest factors of why people are being so lazy. Although it might be looked at as lazy some of the changes that technology has made are just more efficient. For example, lets take student teaching as an example ever since I have been a student teachers have had to grade their own tests and quizzes, but now they use scantron and just run it through the system. 
goose
Politicker
+10
Sales Executive
Specifically, as it relates to WFH, I'm wondering why anyone would wake up early, get in their car and drive an hour or more to get to the office to begin their workday.  Admittedly, I've been working from home for a few years but thinking back to my daily commute to and from work seems archaic.  

I'm probably old school in that I don't think there is room for politics, personal finances or religion in any workplace conversation.  Personal topics should be kept personal.

The dress code topic is interesting.  To each their own is the way I like to look at it.  If a co-worker looks like a hot mess and gets the job done then more power to them.  If they look like they should be on the cover of a fashion magazine and they stink then we have a problem.  Different companies are going to have different dress codes and that's fine.  Leave it up to them to decide.
dryspongebob
Opinionated
+2
Business Development Manager
I like that things are more informal now, and that we have less and less taboo topics of conversation, but I come from a very different background than that of the average War Room participant, so I’ll go into my reasons in hopes it will give more perspective.

I grew up dirt poor. As a kid, many doors were closed to me because my family could not afford to dress me up nicely - think sweet sixteens I could not go to because I did not own any clothes that would fit the dress code as an example.

As an adult, my first job with a formal dress code paid the equivalent of USD$600 today. This was in oil & gas and outside of the US, of course, but it is not an exaggeration, and it’s important to note that “wearing a suit to the office” has a very direct impact in the cost of living.

My question to you is: does your company pay enough for employees to even care? 

P.S.: I’m with you on not talking about topics such as religion and politics with just any rando, though - that’s a recipe for disaster.
FamilyTruckster
Valued Contributor
+4
Exec Director, Major Accounts
I’ve been WFH since 2015. So I may be skewed. 

I don’t care if my coworkers see me in informal clothes. I outperform on the scoreboard. They know *some* about me, but not enough to be dangerous. No leverage, nothing serious. 

 I don’t care if I walk into the grocery store in flip flops and a hoodie. We’re human. I’m not there to impress anyone. 

Some days my kids are insane, get up at 4am and I don’t get a shower in before I jump into my office. 

That being said, I live away from ALL of my customers. I will NEVER seen a customer where I live. When they see me (in person or online) I’m always presentable. I make it work. I also let customers say whatever they want. They won’t hear my actual opinion, but I’ll chat


If I’m going out somewhere nice, I’m matching the atmosphere. You won’t see me in a hoodie at capital grille. 
GDO
Politicker
+7
BDM
I love formality. I pretty old school for my age. 

on the other hand, don’t be an ass because someone is less formal. 
Grant_Horun
Politicker
+5
Account Executive
I wish people would take more care in the way they present themselves. Just yesterday I went to dinner with my girlfriend and we were both dressed for the occasion. After dinner we decided to walk a few blocks and 2 people complimented us. 

I do believe that being comfortable is important for performance, but I strongly feel that you perform how you dress. Look Good, Feel Good, Perform Great.  

With the pandemic adjusting us to WFH I have still made an effort to try and dress well when I go out, even if its just to the grocery. You never know who you will run into. 
wHaTyAgOtCoOkInG
Catalyst
+4
Account Executive
i didnt even read this post beyond the headline... formal to lazy
ColdCallFartBoy
Arsonist
+8
Business Development Representative
I think that this is fake. nice story faker
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+11
Needer of Life Alert
What is fake? Help us understand.
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