When I meet someone during lunch, instead of being asked if I have eaten like a typical Malaysian, they ask if I’m on holiday. Then they will have this puzzled look after I tell them I’m actually working and I get to wear my t-shirts and shorts at the office.
My workplace, like many in the tech industry, adopt a more accommodating dress code for their employees. Instead of Casual Fridays, it’s Casual Everyday for us. This is a godsend as I can’t stand wearing slacks and long sleeves in this weather.
Result is the only thing that matters
Even though I prefer to dress casually at work, that’s not the reason why we do away with the usual formal dress code. As programmers, we don’t need to meet clients or attend formal meetings. So it makes more sense to allow the team to dress in whatever they are most comfortable in, as long as it’s presentable.
Each of us are paid for the work we do and not how well we dress. It’s okay to come to work in your hoodie or jeans. What matters more is the work produced and this is one way to help boost productivity. Focus on getting stuff done instead of worrying about what to wear to work.
Personally, I prefer to wear my company t-shirts as it helps simplify my life by outsourcing this decision. It also helps to not be drenched every time I have to walk under the sun for a few minutes.
Work is more than just results
In the past, I’ve always justified our casual dress code with our focus on results. I’ve told many prospective employees that the most important thing we care about is result.
This makes sense as we are hired and paid for our time and labour. Our output is what the company is ultimately paying for. But does this mean we can ignore everything else just to deliver results?
We may be paid for the code we write but we owe it to ourselves to deliver applications and programs that are more maintainable. We should not sacrifice quality simply to meet our deadlines. The result we produce and the work we do should be something that we are proud of.
Values and principles are what truly matters
The work we do isn’t just work. It’s our craft and we should deliver our best out of respect for ourselves, our clients, our peers and the art of creation itself. We should strive for mastery in our work.
Instead of being a result-only work environment, we need to be a value-driven work environment. We don’t just deliver results, we produce them according to the principles and values of our company.
Values should guide our decisions and our work should embody our principles. The journey should matter as much as the destination.
The next time someone ask me why we wear shorts at work, I’ll tell them about our values and principles instead because that’s what truly matters. And if you think you have what it takes to dress casually at work, drop me an email.