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I am down here in Brazil this week visiting my people and management at Labs Latin America in Sao Leopoldo.    One of the first things I noticed when I sat down at one of the break tables is this little placemat with all sorts of ‘stuff’ on it about Labs LA.   One that jumped out at me is ‘No Dress Code’    Indeed, as I looked around later I noticed it more and more.    There was a much more relaxed atmosphere here than in some of the other offices I have had the pleasure of visiting over the last couple of years.     Nothing so blatant as the typical developer image people have of a T-shirt, shorts, socks and sandals…:)     Everyone rather had a casual attire that seemed totally fitting, and although jeans were rampant…..they were what I would consider to be dress jeans rather than the typical wrangler or levi jeans with holes and worn spots everywhere.

The atmosphere down here is warm and seems conducive to sharing and innovation.   I look at some of the survey results over the last 4-5 years and it appears as if Labs South America always seems to have excellent survey results.    I would hesitate to say that the main reason is no dress code, but I would not hesitate to suggest that it may have a bearing on the results ๐Ÿ™‚

Dressing in a suit is still ‘sharp’ and appearances and perception are still amongst the most influential areas that people are concerned with.   Perhaps though some areas are finally begining to look past appearances and judge people based on what they can do rather than what they look like.   I think it is time that a more balanced approach be taken….business casual is ok.   When I think of some of the work I have done or my people do though…jeans would be much more appropriate and in some cases more economically feasible for some of us.    I hate crawling under desks, behind racks, under raised floors or above tiles in the ceiling dressed in business casual. <shudder>

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  1. Andy Silvey

    Hi Mike,

    are you over the pleasure of riding cattle down there yet ?

    All the best,

    Andy.

    p.s. toptip:  If you wear a suit for the flight you’re got more of a chance of

    being bumped up to business ๐Ÿ™‚  so i heard

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  2. Paul Hardy

    It’s great to work in different countries. Working with SAP has taken me all over the place for my company. Dress code is always a variable.

    Up to 1997 I worked in the UK and always had to waer a suit and tie. Then two years in Tel Aviv where they had the exact opposite attitude – “come in shorts and t-shirt if you want” said my boss at the time. They considered their utter lack of a dress code a huge bonus.

    In 2000 I moved to Australia and on my first day turned up in a suit and though no-one said anything I instantly knew that was a huge mistake. Needless to say since since then I have worn a tie about three times since then at work, for assorted foreign top dog types.

    Then I was re-assigned back to the UK for a year in 2009 so I packed a big bunch of ties, much to my amazement things had changed dramatically, the managers wore ties, and the accountants but IT didn’t have to, and I could wear jeans. I turned up to a meeting in a “Mr Blobby” tie to see if it got a reaction and no it didn’t. so back in the drawer they went.

    Then 2010/2011 to Germany, just oustide Walldorf. SURELY a formal country like Germany would want a dress code. Once again I was not exactly told not to wear a tie but my boss did say “what is it with you and wearing a tie – is it an Australian thing?” so back in the drawer once again. My ties were feeling pretty hard done by I can tell you. One German colleague told me what she loved about working in IT is that she could come to work in blue jeans every day. And another took her dog to work. It was very disconcerting sitting in the boardroom and watching the dog walk by like it owned the place.

    Then last year back to the informality of Australia once again. Two weeks ago I went into the boardroom and someone had a pink hat with glitter all over it on and I didn’t even notice.

    What country is it again that still has a dress code for IT people?

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