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An Urgent Issue That Needs (Ad)Dressing

, , , , , | Working | September 17, 2021

[Coworker] joined the team before we all started to work from home. I’ve met her twice and can’t stand her. She’s opinionated, she will force her opinion on everyone, and she is generally willfully ignorant of the world around her.

I had completely forgotten about her until I had to go back on site. The team decides to meet for lunch. I get there late and find only one chair left, next to [Coworker]. I fake a smile and sit down.

[Coworker] is already giving a speech about something inane.

Boss: “Well, yes, err… thank you, [Coworker]. How is everyone else?”

A few murmurs of general positive comments come from the group.

Boss: “Just one point of business, I promise, but while you are all here… while we are on video calls for the company, please can we remember that there is a dress code of sorts?”

Groans come from everyone.

Boss: “Now, now, I’m not asking for full business wear, but you need to be presentable; please, can we wear clothes and keep basic hygiene in mind? Hair brushed — you know, the basics.”

I’m a bit surprised that he has to bring this up. Everyone I’ve spoken to is professional and knows the basics of being in a business. Then, I find out who has the issue.

Coworker: “Well, I don’t think the company can tell us what to wear in our own home. It’s hot; I can’t wear my normal clothes!”

Boss: “Again, I’m not expecting you to. I wear a T-shirt and shorts. I’m just asking everyone to be presentable.”

Coworker: “Well, I don’t see the rule that working from home I have to…”

She continues for several minutes about off-topic and barely relevant points.

Boss: *Getting frustrated* “Your contract states that you must wear smart and presentable clothes. Okay? So smart and presentable clothes, please.”

Coworker: “But I think—”

Boss: “No, not think. Not open for discussion. [Coworker], please wear appropriate clothes.”

Coworker: “I don’t see why I am being singled out.”

Boss: “I’m not singling you out. I am making myself clear, as you seem to need additional explanation. [Coworker], please wear appropriate clothes when on video calls. Everyone, please wear appropriate clothes when on video.”

Coworker: “Then I will need additional breaks so I can get changed before each call.”

Boss: “No. Okay, [Coworker], we need to talk privately.”

I asked around after lunch, and it turned out that [Coworker] had been working in her stained pyjamas, even in video calls with senior management. There were even rumours of her bottoms falling down (mostly off-camera) as she bumbled around on video when she was supposed to be paying attention.

Eventually, they made her work in the office because of all the complaints. Thankfully, she manages to get dressed now.