Insights from BruntWork’s “Truth about Remote Work 2022” survey predict some amazing new paradigms for work attire in this post pandemic world.
The suit and tie has become “a uniform for lemmings”, according to Winston Ong, CEO of BruntWork – only worn by people impelled to do so in groups of others wearing similar attire.
The only time Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has been seen wearing a suit was when he testified before Congress. At work he dresses down. Even Emmanuel Macron has been seen publicly in a hoody, while Volodymyr Zelensky’s “go to” dress code is a simple green t-shirt in solidarity with his fellow soldiers who are risking their lives to protect and defend Ukrainianhood.
No matter where you look, and in what context, people are dressing down. With the shift to remote work, and office blocks standing empty, suits remain hung in cupboards and ties in drawers.
The grown-up accoutrements office workers collected over years of office work – cuff links, business shirts, fancy socks – have been left behind. If you want to know the truth of it, the average worker now spends half or more of their work day at home and the standard dress code is a step well below smart casual. Clean t-shirt up top, and no one cares what’s below your webcam. Underpants suffice.
In Bruntwork’s “Truth About Remote Work” survey, just released, 89% of respondents indicating dressing down for work was now standard versus the same time pre-pandemic. That means no more suits, ties, uncomfortable dresses or unnecessary high heels. The pandemic might have just killed off the suit and tie.
Athleticwear now dominates as a clothing category. Made-to-measure suits and shirts and ties and bench-made shoes will only be reserved for the occasional wedding as the winds of style have changed.
There might be a period of adjustment for many used to dressing up for work. One of the pleasures of wearing a suit to work is shedding it when arriving home. Now there is less distinction between work and home, on and off, public and private
“If you can’t motivate yourself without a literal suit on, maybe freelancing or remote work is not for your temperament,” says Winston Ong, CEO of BruntWork.
Over the coming years workers and bosses will manage to work out the smart-casual-compromise. Maybe a business shirt will once again appear on Zoom calls, while jeans or tracksuit pants can suffice for below the screen. And why not wear trainers to work.