Is Workplace Etiquette More Relaxed? You Make The Call

Workplace rules have been relaxed over the years to accommodate cultural changes with each generation. However, some behaviors are consistently viewed as unacceptable for the workplace.

A recent survey shows more than 90 percent of senior managers in the U.S. have seen employers become more tolerant when it comes to workplace rules over the past decade. Managers feel that these changes stem from an interest in attracting younger professionals and "looser societal standards."

Among the workplace rules that have been relaxed are dress codes and appearance policies. Roughly 33 percent of managers say their employer is more tolerant of casual clothing, visible tattoos, and colorful hairstyles. Additionally, non-traditional piercings have become more acceptable.

Survey respondents have expressed the opinion that the workplace has become generally more casual. For example, thirty percent of managers once thought casual language or emojis in emails were controversial and now these behaviors are generally accepted in the workplace. Some think this change is a result of a natural progression toward a more laid-back work environment while others think companies are relaxing standards to attract new talent.

Whatever the reason, there are some behaviors that managers still view as unacceptable. Survey respondents stated inappropriate language and cursing are still completely unacceptable in the workplace. Additionally, managers did not view political conversations, streaming sporting events, or bringing pets (other than a service animal) to work as acceptable behaviors.

Experts said even the most relaxed workplace environment should be conscious of employee comfort and respect. Actions that cause a distraction, such as playing music without headphones, can be detrimental to the work of others and are therefore unacceptable. Melodie Smith "Workplace etiquette more relaxed, catering to younger workers" (Jun. 21, 2020).

So, the question for our readers is: Has your workplace become more relaxed?

Please take the poll. Here is the opinion of one of the McCalmon editorial staff:

Jack McCalmon, Esq.

I welcome new standards, especially those that relate to dress and appearance. When I started work, not only was a suit and tie required, but also the color of your suit (blue or grey), shirt (white and starched) and color of your shoes (black) mattered. Nevertheless, employers have to have standards because there is always someone who will push the envelope…wearing flip-flops to the office for example. Finally, address these standards every year and involve your employees.

You can answer our poll. Please note any comments provided may be shared with others.

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