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The New Home Office Dress Code

Mark Twain once said, “There is no such thing as a new idea”. But, Mr. Twain, I really thought I proved you wrong on this one, this time. But apparently not in our new normal of the quarantined work from home office.

I call it “Zoom Shabby Chic”. My personal fashion trend for someone like me who works remotely for an Israeli organization in a time zone eight hours ahead. For someone like me who watches the sunrise out the window during our Google Hangouts while for the staff on the other end of the video camera they are closing in on seeing that same sun set.

Zoom Shabby Chic carries a well kept secret. There are two distinct parts to it- the one you see on camera and the one hidden beyond the viewer’s view off camera. Once or twice a week I roll over and turn off my early morning alarm set for a 4:30am staff call. Five minutes before we go live I put on my workout clothes (because that’s on the post-meeting agenda after the camera stops rolling). I put on my sharpest looking solid black Athleta tank top with my matching workout capris. Pull back my hair into a low professional looking ponytail and swap my glasses for contacts. And the pièce de résistance? I cover up with a professional looking cardigan.

Because the only thing that really counts is what can be seen on the laptop screen.

But this morning I walked downstairs into my kitchen to discover my original idea was not so original. I found my husband working in our Stay-At-Home ordered Wisconsin at the kitchen table on his laptop. A quick once over found him wearing a pressed, button down dress shirt coupled with his fleece, plaid red and blue New England Patriots pajama pants and white athletic socks. Hidden from view of the camera.

Zoom Shabby Chic.

Thrown off I asked with puzzled inquiry, “Um…..Eric, everything okay?” He always looks so well-kept heading to work each morning in a collared button down shirt tucked into dress pants adorned with a leather belt and shined shoes. This morning not so much.

“I have video meetings all day today. They can only see the top half of me.”

Zoom Shabby Chic.

In this new version of our new normal where many of us telecommute from home because of quarantine, it’s interesting to see how people adapt. How people think creatively. How people mash up the creature comforts of home with the professionalism of their home office. Or how people cheat the system. It’s the new quarantine office dress code: Zoom Shabby Chic.

And PS…Memo to me. Don’t stand up before I hit the “leave meeting” icon on the computer screen only to divulge the company secrets.

This blog post is by Jennifer Saber.  Jennifer, who lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is Shutaf’s Educational Development Consultant.  

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