Friday, August 03, 2007

Different strokes for different folks.

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It’s Friday and our office has a dress-down policy on Fridays. I love this policy cos’ I feel more comfortable in sneakers and jeans but some of the things I've seen paraded around offices with this policy is downright insane!

In my first job, there was no such policy even though the practice has been adopted by many top companies with rave reviews from studies conducted that it boosted the morale of the employees. There were several requests for it but the idea was thrown out the window before the ink dried.

Today, I can understand why.

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When I walked into the office, I was somewhat surprised by what one of my team members was wearing. She was supposed to be on an assignment at a client’s place but was in the office to organise her things before leaving for that assignment. I would consider the black jeans, sneakers & pullover that she was wearing inappropriate when there is a professional engagement with a valued client but I couldn’t bring myself to tell her. It was not that her attire was outrageous or anything, just untidy. The things that went through my mind were:

a) Maybe she thinks that it's appropriate. Am I going to tell her what she should and shouldn't wear?
b) Am I being too petty? Is this micro-management to the extreme?
c) The girl’s new here. Give her a break
d) Maybe I’m old and too conservative

Rightly or wrongly, I took the coward’s approach and asked HR to send a copy of the policy to all new staff. Luckily, we had 3 new employees in the last couple of months.

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Here’s the gist of it -“Casual wear should be “reasonable”, i.e. no shorts, no thongs, no sandals, no singlet etc during the summer and no fancy or party clothes”.

Looking at it, I feel that it’s all about the individual’s taste and I really think that the rule is open to interpretation. One man’s MC Hammer pants could be another’s work slacks don’t you think?

But then again, if they were to cover all bases and list the ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’, they might as well come with some tips on grooming and professionally taken pictures on glossy pages as examples. The memo will probably look more like a Vogue magazine by the time it's done.

Wonder when platform shoes will come back in style? I've always wanted to be a 6 footer.

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