A boss who wants her employees to wear their uniforms while working from home has divided the internet, with some calling the uniform policy “ridiculous”.
As the coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of workers around the world to adopt WFH as the “new normal”, there have been plenty of new challenges to adapt to.
One of those challenges is found in the wardrobe, with employees conflicted or confused as to what counts as “work appropriate” clothing when they’re working from their living room or kitchen.
Some people have taken the ‘business casual on top, sweats on the bottom’ approach, while others have been taking Zoom calls in their PJs for months.
But what are the rules when it comes to employees who usually wear a uniform?
One boss from the UK asked that exact question, sharing her concerns on parenting forum Mumsnet.
Explaining that she and her husband own a business with five offices and a predominantly female workforce, the woman said her employees have always worn uniforms at work.
“After a bit of a rollercoaster few months we have decided adopt a majority wfh approach, with most of the work being either done online/via Zoom or whatever,” she wrote.
“Our employees are uniformed, which is obviously an expectation when in the office. Question is, can the uniform policy be enforced when employees are wfh?”
It’s a good question, and one that divided opinions on the forum, with people arguing passionately on both sides.
Plenty of people immediately said the boss would be unreasonable to make her employees wear their uniforms while working from home, calling it “ridiculous”, “controlling” and “old fashioned”.
Others said that working from home shouldn’t mean that employees are “off the hook” when it comes to working dress codes and uniform policies.
But many commenters were undecided, pointing out that if there was a legitimate reason for the workers to be required to wear a uniform while working from home, it wasn’t unreasonable for the boss to enforce a WFH uniform policy.
The boss later clarified that her workers would be spending a lot of time on Zoom calls with clients and usually wear uniforms to create a positive company image.
With that added context, some commenters changed their tunes, saying it made sense that employees would be required to wear a uniform for client-facing roles.
But others doubled down, insisting that forcing employees to wear uniforms in their own homes “smacked of micromanaging”.
“You are being completely, outrageously unreasonable.”
“You are being completely, outrageously unreasonable. Off the charts unreasonable,” one comment read.
“Are their living rooms or dining rooms or bedrooms or kitchens also part of your company image? Their pets? Their babies and small children? The view out their windows?
“Because whatever room they are working in will also be seen by clients, and there goes your company ‘image’.”
Other responses were more considered, with many people confessing they could see both sides of the argument.
But at the end of the day many agreed that forcing employees to wear their uniforms at home probably was a little overbearing.
“I think a uniform is likely to seem a bit odd to your clients if the meetings are via Zoom,” another chimed in.
A fellow business owner added: “I’ve requested my staff look professional on calls and make sure background is clear etc. But I’ve not requested they have to be in uniform.”