Business Casual Communication?

Business Casual Communication?

Changes in the workplace are not just about location and timing. When workers return to an in-person work environment they’ll probably be showing changes in the ways they dress. Ads for current clothing trends offer “Business Comfort’ and “Power Casual” as workers embrace a less formal presentation of themselves.

Is workplace communication following this trend? Some people are hearing workplace conversations that seem to have adapted the power casual or business comfort style, in which messages are spared words or phrases that used to be the norm. Demands are easier to issue than requests. It’s much quicker to get to a salient point if one can avoid any softening commentary. No need to bother with the old style standards of discourse – just say what you mean. If one can speak casually or dismissively at home or at play, why put on formality just for the workplace?

Some of us were taught that the way we dress informs the way we behave, suggesting that in our sweats we couldn’t conduct a professional interaction, but that idea is being tested as we no longer insist that certain clothing items dictate our work behavior. Does the same hold for the way we speak to one another? Is work leisure a free pass on cordiality? Or can we still respect one another in our t-shirts?

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