Recently reading The Gen Y Perceptions Study has persuaded me to begin this series of posts on the perceptions of Generation Yers in the workplace. In my last post I wrote about how I fall into the category of being technologically savvy, which many of my Gen Y brethren also belong. The rest of the posts in the series will basically detail each part of the study and how I fit in to those categories.

Gen Y dresses and behaves casually

First off I’d like to get my viewpoint on the matter out of the way. I believe working in a casual environment is the best way to get the most out of a Gen Y employee. If I have to wear a stuffy tie and suit to the office everyday I’m more likely to be uncomfortable which would lead to less productivity. However, I understand the need for formality in the workplace, especially in the profession of public relations that I’m entering. When dealing with shareholders or media I’m sure it’s good practice to set your best foot forward, and that foot is likely wearing a dress shoe not a sneaker. I’ve heard of and seen many people keep an extra set of clothing in the office in case of emergency, so why not keep a suit in case of media, or an important shareholder meeting?

Some of the investments in informal the study lists include: work is more relaxing and comfortable, there’s more team building and the company tends to be more flexible with its time. Reading this I feel like I’m falling into the stereotype of my generation more and more. I would enjoy going to work where everyone isn’t so tense because it leads to better productivity. Why should work be a rigid and boring place? You spend so much of your time there it should be made to feel inviting and comfortable.

On the flip side, the study lists some implications of casual dress and behaviour in the workplace that I disagree with completely. Some of the things a casual environment seemingly has an effect on are: casualness with time commitments, misspelling in documents, lower quality writing and less use of informal language. Now while I don’t disagree that these things exist in the workplace, I disagree wearing jeans and a blazer over a t-shirt is the cause of it. I’m not sure where those opinions came from in the study, but they seem far-reaching and nowhere near the truth.

Conclusion

The study mentions that while there are many issues surrounding casual dress at work by Gen Yers, the Boomers and Gen Xers don’t believe we lack professionalism. Like many issues creating the conflicts between the generations, I think this is just another example of how new practices coming into play are foreign and therefore seen as wrong and should not be tolerated. Change is good so why is making the workplace a more inviting one a bad thing? We get our work done and we aren’t showing up in tattered jeans and grease stained t-shirts (I’d hope not anyway); we’re still modestly dressed and clean, just not in suits all the time. Dressing business “caszh” isn’t the death of professionalism, it just makes it a lot less stressful and easier to manage in a small way.

Next up in my series I’ll be writing about the work-life balance that I as a Gen Yer seeks.

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