"Change almost never fails because it's too early. It almost always fails because it's too late" - Seth Godin
Tayla Brown writes about her experiences of how old school work codes have changed during 2020...
A lot of people have undergone some personal changes in the strange year that has been 2020. Some people have picked up new hobbies, changed careers, or made a bold change to their appearance. After feeling some festive bravery and participating in the latter I recently dyed a large portion of my hair pink, but I had an instant touch of panic whilst thinking about if and how it would affect my work.
In my position, I speak to a lot of people daily, both internally and externally. Mostly over the phone but thanks to 2020, plenty of video calls too. Questions started rushing through my mind about whether I should dye my hair back to my natural brunette colour or try and hide it somehow. Will I be alarming the people that I am trying to build a real working relationship with, and are they going to be sat there having doubts as to whether I am a serious or credible professional?
Working in the recruitment industry allows me to see the shift in what a ‘professional’ culture means to both people and businesses first-hand. There appears to be a lot more flexibility from employers that are moving away from the traditional mantra of “work your 9-5 hours, be suited and booted, and be present in the office every day”. Many of us are qualified, experienced, and motivated but it seems to have always been the perception that those attributes can’t be true if you’re not wearing a blazer or have your tattoos on show.
It has been proven (especially this year) that working from home and having a more relaxed dress code doesn’t always equal less productivity. Of course, there are times in all professions when the ‘smart’ needs to be ramped up but these aspects of ‘work culture’ are becoming more and more important to an existing or potential employee. There are connotations to all of this; If you are given flexibility = you can be trusted, and this is a huge part of what people are now looking for in the market.
I’m curious to know where you stand on this, and if you think more companies should still make adjustments to policies and expectations that might be deemed out-of-date. Do you have any concerns over offering more flexibility to your team? Do you have a great internal culture where small things really do make all the difference? Would you instantly hang up after I called you on Microsoft Teams with a shade of pink in my hair?