Are Yoga Pants Appropriate for the Workplace Post-Pandemic?


Are yoga pants appropriate for the workplace post-pandemic?

Well, it’s that time of year again. The sun is shining brightly, the birds are singing, and the weather is warm. It’s also a time for addressing summer attire. Employees have become lax in dressing for the workplace, especially now that many are coming back to the workplace post-pandemic.

I received a call in the SHRM HR Knowledge Center the other day regarding employees who had been working remotely and now are coming back into the office. The SHRM member reported that it seemed as if some employees had forgotten what acceptable workplace appearance looked like. Believe it or not, employers are dealing with employees coming to the office in pajama pants, yoga pants, tank tops and flip-flops.

I have seen some recent commercials in which people are dressed for work from the waist up and in shorts, yoga pants, pajamas or even their boxers from the waist down. This has been a running joke— “party on the bottom and business on top.” This may be acceptable when working from your home, but it is usually not acceptable in the workplace.

A common employer practice is to reiterate its policy, practices, and procedures when it comes to summer attire/dress code. Here are some things to ask when drafting an attire/dress code policy:

  • Are employees in the office or remote?
  • What is our dress code policy for office employees and/or remote employees?
  • What is considered business casual, and since this has changed over time, what does “business casual” mean now?
  • Are employees dealing with customers, visitors, clients, etc.?
  • What are the customers’ culture and values?
  • What is appropriate for casual Fridays (if applicable)?
  • What about piercings, tattoos, hair color, etc.? Are they acceptable in the workplace?
  • What about hygiene, including neatness of hair, facial hair, etc.? What is acceptable?
  • Does our industry require special dress (closed-toe shoes, no sleeveless shirts, etc.)?

It’s time to take the post-pandemic bull by the horns and remind employees what is acceptable and what is not, whether they are in-person or remote workers. So, what should employers do now? They should ensure company policy outlines nondiscriminatory and gender-neutral dress and appearance requirements aligns with the company’s culture and is well-communicated to all employees.

If you want to know more about attire/dress code, including policies, or have other HR questions, we’d love to help! Give us a call, chat with us, or send us an e-mail. The HR Knowledge Center is one of the most valued benefits of SHRM membership!

SHRM’s Ask an Advisor service is a member benefit through which SHRM's HR Knowledge Advisors share guidance, real-life personal and professional experiences, and resources to assist members with their HR-related inquiries. We receive questions from HR professionals on a wide range of topics that include HR leadership, professionalism in the workplace, as well as current workplace topics related to COVID‑19.


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