a tale of two companies

I want to highlight two very different approaches by employers that were described in the comments on one of last week’s letters.

The first:

My friend just texted me and her office is doing “pants and shoes checks” before Zoom meetings to make sure people are complying with the dress code 100% even if you only see 50% of the outfit. Another was just told that her staff need to have workspaces that have dedicated offices and if they don’t have them in their current residences they are supposed to find somewhere else to live (???).

Shoe checks! And instructions to move.

Here’s the second:

One of the things my company has done that I enjoy is lean into the refrain that we are uninvited guests in our staff’s homes right now, and we expect management to behave accordingly.

No, it’s not a professional space. Work, work stuff, work people, work demands have invaded our staff’s personal space, without warning or consent, during a global emergency. Be polite, be generous, be gentle, be grateful for what people can and are doing during this time.

One of these companies understands the reality we’re in and is undoubtedly building loyalty in — and I’d bet getting better work results from — its staff. The other is likely to be staffed by people who deeply hate it, which tends not to work out well.

{ 395 comments… read them below }

  1. lilsheba*

    ohhhh that first one? No concept of how to treat people well. You don’t need to see what I’m wearing in my own home, and I don’t even wear shoes inside because eeeewwww. Dress codes and “professional” spaces and instructions to move? Yeah bite me.

    1. Thankful for AAM*

      I 100% do not wear shoes in my house.
      Also, my dedicated work space would be the bathroom, specifically the huge and unused whirlpool tub. I could wear shoes in the tub. Lol.

      1. NotAnotherManager!*

        Hell, I kick my shoes off under my desk at work (it has a fully-enclosed footwell, no one has to look at my feet), why would I wear shoes sitting in my house when I don’t wear them half the time at work?

        1. Sparrow*

          Same! If I worked for this company, I would probably do the same thing I do at work, which is have a pair of flats right next to my desk that I can quickly step into if needed, and that would be literally the only time I’d have shoes on.

      2. Wendy Darling*

        Our apartment is a layout that was designed to be wheelchair-accessible so one of the bathrooms is the size of a small bedroom and is mostly just open floor space. I’ve joked about moving my desk in there, we have another bathroom we could use as a bathroom.

        Honestly the only thing really stopping me is it doesn’t have any windows.

      3. MCMonkeyBean*

        One upside for me in all this is I think I’ve cured the plantar fasciitis that I’ve been struggling with for a couple of years! I have these very supportive slippers (they’re not even expensive, they just fit the shape of my feet perfectly) and I’ve been wearing them basically all day, every day… and I finally noticed that my feet don’t hurt when I get out of bed anymore. I have no idea when the pain stopped but it’s great.

      1. LastDaughter Standing*

        My grandfather, who rarely cussed, would occasionally say to my grandmother when she fussed with him about not wearing a white shirt to Sunday dinner, “Dammit Annie, you should be all-mighty-damn-glad I have pants on!” Your comment brought up that memory, so thanks! :-)

    2. Pipe Organ Guy*

      Shoes? At home? Well, I wear slippers in the winter; wood or tile on a concrete slab can get chilly. Being instructed to move if you can’t create dedicated space? Tone-deaf at best, and arrogantly stupid and condescending.

      1. General von Klinkerhoffen*

        We are trying to move at the moment. We’ve been working on it since June, and won’t be in a new place until at least Christmas. This is considered reasonable (last time it took us 18 months). Would I get fired for not controlling the entire housing market?

      2. Ice and Indigo*

        Not just move, but move somewhere with an extra room you can dedicate purely to work! Who wants to take bets on the odds that they’re offering an appropriate pay raise to cover this?

        No? Me neither. Ffs, it’s not the employees’ job to literally pay for a workspace.

        1. HoHumDrum*

          I love the assumption that I *could* be living in a spacious 3 bedroom apartment with good light and limited noise, but I’m just choosing to stay here in this noisy dim 1 bedroom shoebox because it didn’t occur to me on my own.

          “Uh, have you considered moving?”
          “Uh, have *you* considered that most people are already living in the nicest place they can currently afford??”

          1. Momma Bear*

            Exactly. “So, boss, adding another bedroom would be x more per month. When will I see that raise?”

        2. EPLawyer*

          Of COURSE you can just pick up and move. Why would that be a problem? After all, the company is asking you as a loyal employee to move, so jump right on it.

          Wanna bet that in one year, everyone who HAS options to get another job will take them? Then the company will wander around complaining how its soooooo hard to get good employees and no one has any loyalty these days.

          1. tangerineRose*

            Yep, I think that company is going to lose a lot of good people. People with options will leave as soon as they can.

          2. MarsJenkar*

            Loyalty is a form of respect–a respect that is earned, not given. The second company understands this, and is likely to have plenty of loyal workers who will stick around after the global health crisis passes. Loyalty exists…but the company has to do its part.

        3. Amaranth*

          No kidding, the employer wants to require a dedicated room, they can pay for it. After all, they can save rent and utilities on their building, right? It cost me $1000 to move two people a few miles across town. That doesn’t even count startup fees to move utilities, cable, internet. Then you have the break in availability while you’re moved…

        4. Rachel in NYC*

          That’s what I was wondering. Everyone I know was impressed that my office gave us a budget for office supplies so we could buy desk chairs.

        5. AlmostGone*

          I actually know someone who worked for a Fortune 500 company. He worked from home. At one point, they demanded as a condition of continued employment that all home workers had to have a dedicated office with a door. He sold his house — at a loss because the housing marked was poor at the time. He bought and moved into a bigger home (bigger mortgage). Three months later, he was laid off. To say that he deeply regrets jumping at their command is an understatement.

    3. MusicWithRocksIn*

      I have so many questions about shoe checks. Like, do you have to do a high kick so that your feet are visible on camera? Or are you sitting and pulling your feet up on your desk? Or weird yoga pose where you are standing then pulling your feet up? None of that sounds like something I would do in an office ever – it is so weird and unprofessional! Plus that as soon as you finish the shoe check you could just kick your shoes back off. What is the point?

      1. SpaceySteph*

        Have you seen that article where the girl took a screenshot of herself sitting at the desk and used it as her Zoom pic and then the teacher couldn’t tell she wasn’t paying attention. I’d just make my profile pic a picture of my feet in heels and flip it on when asked for a shoe check.

        Though now I’m envisioning you need a Proof of Life of today’s newspaper next to your feet to be sure.

    4. Clumsy Ninja*

      My husband wears shoes as part of his “I’m at work” persona. He wears a shirt with a collar, his badge (iffy), and his tennis shoes. That helps him get into “work mode.” But his company absolutely doesn’t require it – it’s just something he came up with to help get himself into the work frame of mind.

      1. JustaTech*

        I’m a “wear shoes all the time” person (I have cold feet and bad knees), while my husband is more of a “slippers in the house” kind of person. But he has a rule that if he’s working it’s shoes, not slippers, because slippers are for relaxing and shoes are for doing.

        Then again, my husband has also had to remind one of his direct reports that if he (the report) wasn’t going to wear pants, he needed to stay seated while his video was on. So I can see sending out a *reminder* to wear pants.

        If my company suddenly started wanting to see my shoes I would 100% wear my shoes that look like fuzzy bunny slippers. They’re not, they’re wedges with real soles, but they’re also covered in fuzzy grey fabric and have big stick-up ears. (Very cute, not that comfortable, so I don’t wear them in the office often.)

      2. Len F*

        Oh! I like the idea of wearing my work badge. I’ve just clipped it to my belt.

        It’s a new job. I was only in the office for two days before moving to WFH. It’s still new and shiny and I’m still proud of landing it, so for me wearing the badge is a bit of feeling more connected to it and taking pride in it.

    5. Liz*

      Um yeah. I’m with you. Thanhkfully the only zoom video calls I’ve had were with my group for happy hour. Everything else has been audio only. But if i did have video work calls, i’d dress nicely wherever I’d be seen. so I might have a professional top, etc,. with leggings and fuzzy socks.

      And the move if you don’t have space to dedicate to an office? I second the bite me. If they want to PAY for me to pack and move, AND the additioal few hundred dollars i’d pay for a larger space, i MIGHT entertain the idea. but if not, they can eff right off.

    6. Ana Gram*

      Yeah, we have inside shoes- Ugg slippers for me and an old pair of (cleaned) sneakers. Heck, people in the office often wear flats or slippers while they’re at their desks. This is a really weird requirement. And dedicated office space? Wow.

      1. Amethystmoon*

        I couldn’t even have dedicated work space. My desk shares space with both my personal and office laptop. Not enough room in my one-bedroom apt. for another desk. Is that management willing to pay for two-bedroom upgrades?

    7. Jennifer Juniper*

      Is it even legal to require people to move to another place in order to keep their job? Couldn’t people just lie and say they found a dedicated office space, and then just change their Zoom background?

      1. JanetM*

        The only time I’ve seen that is when the company itself has moved, and employees have to move to the new state / city if they want to keep their job.

      2. AcademiaNut*

        It’s not explicitly illegal, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it were legal. I mean, US employers can legally tell you who you can socialize with outside of work hours. You might be eligible for UI if you resigned, maybe.

        If we weren’t in a pandemic, requiring a separate office for full time telework (or a dedicated, roommate/family member free place for meetings) wouldn’t be that outrageous, but it would be disclosed before accepting the job, and people would be able to choose whether to take it.

        Zoom backgrounds aren’t good enough to convincingly fake a separate room – you can often see weird effects around the person as the program filters out the background, and occasionally body parts will vanish, and moving object in the background (like kids and roommates) can pop up.

        1. Amaranth*

          I think you could still get a folding screen or scrim or something to just not allow any of the room’s features to come through. Thing is, that is still a financial outlay. I’m now picturing the boss telling everyone to remove backgrounds and screens so they can see a Completely Empty room behind them. Its ridiculous. I think if there isn’t dirty laundry in the frame coworkers should count themselves lucky.

          1. Rayray*

            You could purchase some green fabric or paper and then find a picture of a home office and make a fake background

            1. Happily Self Employed*

              I use fake backgrounds but it is incredibly obvious that Zoom can’t even track a consistent outline of my bobbed hair. Maybe this is because the lighting isn’t great, but even if my background were a photo of my draperies instead of Yosemite, it is completely obvious I’m using a fake background. (This is not for clients–it’s for things like going to church via Zoom, meeting with friends to do political stuff together, etc.)

    8. nnn*

      Added to the fact that not everyone wears shoes in their home, I’ve seen advice that you should take your shoes off at the door specifically because of COVID – so you don’t track germs from outdoors around in your house.

      (I am not a medical professional and can’t vouch for whether COVID can be brought into a home on your shoes, but I do know that even pre-COVID my relatives who are doctors and nurses in hospitals would leave their work shoes outside the door.)

      1. Amethystmoon*

        Right, I rent and if I wore shoes at home, my carpet would have been destroyed long before now. I do wear slippers, but no shoes.

      2. Your Shoes May Not be Welcome*

        This is also culturally insensitive. I grew up in midwestern Canada and you would dare not wear shoes in the house, not your own or anyone else’s home. It was thought to be extremely rude, at least in the area I lived in, for practical reasons. Due to the weather in that area your shoes were likely tracking snow, slush, mud, dirt and who knows what else into the presumably clean home, and that is very disrespectful. In other cultures where shoes are not worn inside the home it goes far beyond practicality, it is intensely disrespectful and could be tied to cultural or religious reasons.

        1. Fieldpoppy*

          Canadians generally do not wear shoes in side our homes, absolutely. We might say “leave them on, we’re going through to the back terrace,” but the assumption is that you take shoes off and sometimes bring houseshoes with you. There is no bloody way I would last one minute in an environment like this.

          1. AcademiaNut*

            I live in East Asia, and I can’t convince repair guys it’s okay to leave their shoes on while fixing the AC, assembling Ikea furniture or cleaning the drains.

          2. allathian*

            Same here, and for the same reasons. I’m in Finland, and for much of the year there’s either snow or mud on the ground. I keep a pair of nice, clean flats just so I can use them for more formal occasions at someone’s home.

        2. All the cats 4 me*

          Yup, lifelong Albertan here, never wear shoes on the house. It is as automatic as blinking. EVERYONE takes off their shoes at the door.

          If I am visiting a house in winter I often bring my house slippers in my purse and change into them at the door, to avoid cold feet, but it would be as hard to keep my shoes on past the door as it would be to march into their bedroom and jump into bed fully clothed!

          It Is.Not.Done.

          1. Chinook*

            The onky reason we discovered we were broken into was because the thief left shoe marks on the carpet. When my mother yelled at us teens for the mess, we were all horrified that she thought we would dare to do that and started looking around.

    9. Amethystmoon*

      I guarantee they will have a lot of people searching for new jobs as soon as they feel that it is feasible for them.

    10. Melly Belly*

      Yes to the no shoes in the house rule! That’s just gross. Sorry, but it’s my bare feet or slippers, Boss. But yeah, nah, this place is probably a miserable place to work, even in non-Covid times. I’d definitely be looking for a new job. It’s probably easier than moving. (Though I fully appreciate not by much right now.)

    11. Antisocialite*

      it’s also inherently bigoted/racist. Many cultures do not wear shoes in the house. This is beyond messed up.

  2. juliebulie*

    “The other is staffed by people who deeply hate it, which tends not to work out well.”

    Yeah. Well. My question is, how can they be so short-sighted? I mean, bad managers/companies losing good employees is not a new phenomenon. Is it really so hard not to be a jerk? Or is it just so much fun that the jerks won’t stop?

    1. Micah*

      Sadly a lot of employers think their employees owe them something because they’re the boss and should be respected and listened to out of hand…

      1. anon24*

        Yup. I had a boss who used to tell me constantly “my job as your boss is to get the most out of you for the least amount of money. That’s what a good manager does.” So in return, I never stepped it up or worked harder. If we were behind or missing deadline I’d say “well, if we miss deadline *you* will answer to the company, not me. You are paying me for X amount of work and that’s all you are getting out of me.”

        1. Just a Thought*

          Meanwhile we have supportive management and when my department fell behind, staff in another department picked up 2 tasks to help. Thank yous with gift cards coming from my department in addition to any OT required to help.

        2. Jennifer Juniper*

          I would have cheerfully thanked the boss for their honesty – because, deep down, I believe that’s what bosses are paid to do.

          Yes, I am strange.

      2. Dave*

        And the job market is terrible so our employees should be grateful for a job. I hate that mentality but it is a thing.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          Yeah, it’s funny how job markets tend to go up and down and when they’re up, all the rats start leaving the ship!

        2. Pennalynn Lott*

          I was told that straight-up by my manager at Global Fortune 21 Software Company during the Great Recession. Any complaint or concern was met with a line about there being dozens of people queued up to replace us. Direct quote, delivered dismissively, “You know, you really should just be grateful to be employed at all right now.”

          This was also the same boss who told me to stop smiling and laughing so much because “work isn’t meant to be fun.” I was in sales and was laughing and smiling while ON THE PHONE WITH CUSTOMERS.

          I have no doubt in my mind that, wherever she is right now, she is requiring her employees to have a dedicated office space, dress in business attire, and pan down to show their shoes several times a day.

          Actually, she’s probably one of the managers who has required employees to turn on Zoom and work in a live video conference all day every day. That’s definitely her style.

      3. Amaranth*

        I think a lot of bosses assume workers are always Trying To Get Away With Something. This seems like someone with control issues who insists people take WFH “Seriously” — because if you put on shoes, you aren’t goofing off.

    2. Little Bobby Tables*

      First thing I’d do with that first memo would be to forward it to whoever handles expense reimbursement with a link to a listing for a house with one more bedroom as an item on a supply requisition form.

      1. Elenna*

        According to the person who sent in that comment, the friend in question is doing basically that! Upper management has yet to respond to emails asking about reimbursement plans, for some reason… :P

        1. Des*

          That’s kind of awesome. I would definitely bring up a reimbursement form for a house if asked to move.

          1. Tidewater 4-1009*

            And don’t forget all the moving expenses!
            – Movers to pack and move and unpack at the new place (why should we do the packing and unpacking when it’s not our choice to move?)
            – transferring internet and other utilities
            – changes in renters/homeowners insurance
            – Monthly raise to cover the added cost of the new place

    3. selena*

      I think oftentimes the jerks really don’t see themselves as jerks: they see themselves as ‘the team mother’ (strict but caring: for the employees own benefit)

      I said ‘mother’ on purpose: i have the impression this dynamic is most prevalent amongst female managers with male reports.
      (But i may be way off base)

      1. Autistic AF*

        I’ve experienced that issue, as a woman, equally from male and female managers. Blind adherence to the status quo is not a gendered trait.

        1. The Dread Pirate Buttercup*

          I’ve found that in companies that encourage process over performance, women who don’t promote blind compliance are less likely to get promoted to managerial roles than men who don’t blindly enforce adherence to the status quo. These companies see “innovative” as “one strike” and “presenting as nonmale + innovative” as “two strikes (no balls).” So in my experience, bad management with toxic ideas about gender roles tends to breed bad managers who enforce toxic gender stereotypes. Go figure.

          1. Bluesboy*

            Have to agree with this. When promoting a manager there are plenty of people out there who will see the man as innovative and the woman as unreliable when they don’t follow policy to the letter.

            A logical result is that women managers would be more likely to follow the rules to the letter not because they are women, but because it’s one of the reasons they got promoted. Also, if the woman manager is more flexible (eg letting staff work from home) they are more likely to be seen as weak, and again, less likely to be promoted up the chain.

            That said, it’s just my own experience, so hardly a representative sample…

            1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

              Yes. A friend hit all her objectives but was told she wasn’t going to be promoted because she didn’t yell at her staff enough. She had a dozen burly mechanics in her team and they did everything she said, pronto, because they respected her, there was simply no need for yelling. The colleague who got the promotion was known for deliberately acting the jerk, he would purposely ignore staff saying hello, and bragged about how much of a jerk he was.

          2. Autistic AF*

            I can attest to that as nonconformity runs through my proverbial veins! It’s that “nasty woman” stereotype.

      2. Coffee Bean*

        I truly do not think this dynamic is more prevalent amongst female managers. I don’t think it is helpful to promote a stereotype of female managers as team mother. Can it happen? Sure, but not more prevalently so with female managers.

    4. Lance*

      To me, it sounds like pure and simple, blind privilege, with a dash of power tripping. Because they are still the bosses, they feel they can simply demand adherence to anything they might demand in the physical office… regardless of not being at the physical office.

      1. The Dread Pirate Buttercup*

        All our lives, we’ve been told that “you feel better when you look better (so dress better),” and for some, that works, so they assume that works for everyone. It’s the “everyone likes cilantro” approach to management. See also, “Everybody likes the sound of their name, so say their name at least twice in every conversation to show you care about your employees.”

        1. Charlotte Lucas*

          I 100% hate it when people say my name over & over. Family & close friends, OK. Co-workers & people trying to create a “connection” – ick! (If I’m close to the co-worker, they can do it.) Also, little kids love to say my name, & I’m OK with that.

          1. bleh*

            Yup. Had a group of bullies in HS, whose strategy was to repeat my real name – unusual and multisyllabic – over and over. I still love my name, but I don’t want it in the mouths of people who don’t know me.

            They were quite unsuccessful at bullying, btw.

          2. Guacamole Bob*

            My 6 yo will do this – we’ll be out for a walk just the two of us, or in the car, or some other situation in which normal conversation doesn’t require using names, and before whatever he says he’ll start with “Mom?” and I have to give some noise of reply before he’ll tell me whatever’s on his mind. It’s driving me insane.

            1. CollegeSupervisor*

              He might be looking for a signal that you’re okay with your thoughts being interrupted/are listening. It’s hard for kids to pick up on implicit social cues sometimes so they tend to ask for them explicitly.

            2. Amaranth*

              This is actually a preference of mine because I have severe tinnitus and have trouble sometimes refocusing on conversations, especially with ambient noise. Family get annoyed with me for ‘not paying attention’ and I ask ‘okay, but you know that I have to confirm I’m listening before reciting the speech from Independence Day.’
              Just a thought to maybe see if sometimes he starts talking when you’re occupied and don’t notice, so its led to needing confirmation.

          3. lilsheba*

            Right? I’ve had customers in the past who repeated my name over and over and over and it creeps me out!! I don’t like it.

          4. Tidewater 4-1009*

            The times I’ve encountered that thing of saying my name it was a salesman who had just met me and an obvious attempt at manipulation. Ick! And red flags everywhere!
            BTW, I don’t love hearing my name. Growing up with constant punishment will do that. Unexpectedly hearing my name makes me feel I’m about to be punished. Or singled out by a jerk. Or both.

            1. Pennalynn Lott*

              One of my favorite things in the world is to do this right back at them.

              Salesman: “Hi, Pennalynn. Thanks for asking about our X-product. I think you’ll agree, Pennalynn, that these features are amazing and will solve all of your problems, right, Pennalynn?”

              Me: “Thanks, Christopher, for that explanation. You know, Christopher, I’m not 100% convinced that X-product meets all my needs. I’m sure you understand, Christopher, that I need to do more research before making a buying decision. But, Christopher, thank you for your help. Have a good day, Christopher.”

              And since I never know who is going to pull this stunt, I always have a pen and paper handy when I call a customer service or sales phone number. (In-person interactions usually involve a name badge on their side, so I just reference that).

        2. Amethystmoon*

          Every time I dress better, I have much more anxiety about do things look as nice as I want them to, or is someone going to judge me for xyz reason here? I don’t have that same anxiety wearing jeans and T-shirts at home, when no one’s watching, or even outside running errands.

        3. Tidewater 4-1009*

          The times I’ve encountered that thing of saying my name it was a salesman who had just met me and an obvious attempt at manipulation. Ick! And red flags everywhere!
          BTW, I don’t love hearing my name. Growing up with constant punishment will do that. Unexpectedly hearing my name makes me feel I’m about to be punished. Or singled out by a jerk. Or both.

    5. JSPA*

      One possibility RE the “workspace or move” push is that their goal is to downsize without paying unemployment, and without there being even a whisper of economic problems demanding said downsizing.

      That is, the company is hoping people will quit rather than being fired. So long as the company can demonstrate that the pressure is being evenly applied (relative to various classes of employees) and that it’s focused on business criteria, it’s a good bet it’ll get away with it.

      Along with that attitude, they’re screwing over their poorer employees first and hardest (but “financially-strapped” is not a class under the law). They may also have the same mindset as companies who hire new grads, to get a workplace unclear on workplace norms and on worker’s rights. They will proportionally lose employees who have self-respect, options, and a willingness to push back or walk out, and be left with people whose default (or only) option is to shut up & put up.

      Sure, that means they’ll lose a lot of their best people! But some companies would rather not have the best people, but rather, the most docile workforce.

      1. The New Wanderer*

        “Sure, that means they’ll lose a lot of their best people! But some companies would rather not have the best people, but rather, the most docile workforce.”

        Yes, exactly. It’s possible that they can’t actually tell the difference between truly good workers and mediocre performers, and so they weight what they can tell the difference between – those that put up with BS enough to stay and not fuss, and those that fuss and eventually leave.

      2. Dreama*

        Word. I mean, seriously, they expect/assume anyone can sell up or break a rental lease for the company? Christ. Maybe it’s a poorly-timed joke?

      3. Birdie*

        At my last workplace, this would’ve had the effect of forcing out all the single people because we didn’t get paid enough to live in a two-bedroom in our area unless you had a second income contributing to rent. Could that be interpreted as discrimination based on marital status? Regardless, I can’t imagine that there’s any way they could reasonably enforce this rule, and I’d like to think it’s just a couple of out-of-touch (rich) people at the top pushing this while most of management recognizes that it’s absurd.

      4. MK*

        I am not familiar with how unemployment claims work, but I would be very surprised if people rush to quit so as not to be fired right now, or that “we fired them because they didn’t have a home office” will fly as a reason to not pay unemployment.

        1. squidarms*

          If the company is actually dumb enough to say “we fired them for not having a home office,” probably not. The issue is if they “coincidentally” happen to fire all the employees who didn’t have home offices on some overblown pretext, or simply make their work lives so excruciating that they’re essentially forced to resign.

          1. JSPA*

            IMO, “we fired them because they chose not to create a home 0ffice, per directives” probably would squeeze by. They can point at broadcasters who have made offices out of closets, and the like (ignoring that for a broadcast, you might be in that “office” for an hour, maybe two; not for a whole work day).

            1. lilsheba*

              actually, for a broadcast, a dj doesn’t do a shift any shorter than 4 hours. That’s still a lot of time to be stuck in a closet …yikes.

            2. Liz*

              Oof. My first employer had a PA whose office was essentially a broom cupboard. The job was at a hotel and he had converted the biggest room on the ground floor into a luxurious office for himself and his accountant. There was a linen cupboard just outside and that was his PA’s office. Barely room for a small desk and a filing cabinet, and she tucked herself in behind the door. Turnover for that role was predictably high.

              1. Seeking Second Childhood*

                I had a temp job that tried the storage closet as office thing. And they were surprised when I did not take a second week of it. Hm.

    6. Evelyn*

      1) They think hating work is just life
      2) They don’t think that they are being jerks/unreasonable. They think this is a totally normal and appropriate request and that their employees are the unreasonable ones for reacting poorly.

    7. squidarms*

      In my admittedly anecdotal experience, the jerks don’t realize that they’re being jerks. They honestly believe that when you accept a job, you agree to obey all of your superiors’ commands without further discussion. If you deeply hate what they’re asking you to do, if you have concerns about its advisability, or even if it’s literally impossible for you to do what they’re asking, that’s your own problem to fix–you can either obey, or you can find another job. Unfortunately, people who are managed this way frequently do the same thing when they themselves are promoted to managerial positions, so you end up with an organization composed of nothing but power-tripping despots and nodding yes-people.

      1. Jennifer Juniper*

        In other words, you end up with an entire office full of people with Dependent Personality Disorder. Yes, I’m being serious. I quit my last toxic job and ended up getting tagged with said personality disorder – and landing on disability two months ago.

    8. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

      “My question is, how can they be so short-sighted?”

      Because they can? Unfortunately, that is all the reason some people need!

    9. Pigeon*

      Having come out of a truly toxic environment, the answer is they don’t care if they’re hemorrhaging personnel. They say “good riddance” and move on. It’s not about enjoying being a jerk (they don’t think they are jerks). It’s about an ironclad conviction that they are RIGHT, and everyone else is not only WRONG but intractable, lazy, immoral, etc. So they don’t actually perceive a loss when a good employee leaves. They just blame everyone else left when the quality or delivery of the work declines.

  3. Ray Gillette*

    The companies described in the first paragraph sound like the desperate flailing of leadership whose response in a crisis is to find something, anything, that they can control. A real “rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic” vibe.

    1. selena*

      It brings to my mind the image of the grumpy shopkeeper who pretends not to care about customers because he is scared of people noticing how desperate he really is.

    2. Daughter of Ada and Grace*

      “We must do something! This is something, therefore we must do it!” – a bad plan, no matter where it comes from.

    3. TheLayeredOne*

      It also sounds like the type of management that probably didn’t allow WFH pre-pandemic, and believes no one can be productive at home. And instead of focusing on ensuring good management and accountability for remote teams, they’re just trying to make home feel more like the office.

  4. Everdene*

    That second company are dealing with everything with so much grace. I would bet money that if someone is struggling they feel able to say as much and get support early rather than struggle on. I am going to try my best to emulate that attitude with my team.

    1. sunny-dee*

      I have a toddler and a baby. (I also have a nanny so I can work, or I would go insane.) You can still hear them, though, because little kids have lungs like jet engines. It is a (kind) joke with my coworkers – for all of use that have kids or pets, really – that these are our new “interns” and they’re here to give their opinions.

        1. AnonEMoose*

          While I was growing up, I had a dog who snored. And my dad liked to take naps tipped back in his recliner. When both of them were sleeping, if you stood at the correct spot in the house, you got this interesting stereo effect. That would have been…fun…on conference calls.

          Currently, the cats like to sit on the back of the couch while I’m working, and while I don’t have a ton of meetings, my coworkers do seem to enjoy seeing if they can spot kitty ears behind me.

          1. Jennifer Juniper*

            I would try to talk to your cats to see if they could hear me. I’d also try to talk to you about your cats. Yes, I’m a crazy cat lady.

        2. SchuylerSeestra*

          That would drive me absolutely up the wall. Like literally send my anxiety on edge. I really hope you stay on silent during calls.

          I really don’t think people realize how excessive background noise can be triggering for those on the other end of the call. Especially those of us with sensitivity to certain noises. We can’t mute ourselves.

          1. AnonEMoose*

            I personally tend to think that it’s best practice to mute yourself unless you’re actually presenting or speaking. It reduces distractions and background noise for everyone.

            1. Loosey Goosey*

              Definitely! I have a screechy preschooler, a dog who barks at the slightest disturbance in the force, and there are currently carpenters hammering and drilling in my house. It’s…not ideal. I mute myself any time I’m not talking, but sometimes I need to talk for a few minutes at a time, and there’s just nothing to be done. Thankfully people have been super understanding about the background chaos.

      1. OhNo*

        My coworkers and I have started referring to our pets as our assistants. That way, when my boss’ new puppy, or my cat, or my coworker’s dog, interrupt our vid call, we can say “Excuse me for a moment, my assistant needs my attention”.

      2. Miss Pantalones En Fuego*

        We don’t even have kids or pets of our own, but sometimes you can hear the neighbour kids and dogs. It’s just the way the houses are built and the way sounds travel, and there is nothing that I can do about it in any practical sense. Obviously we both stay on mute unless we’re the ones speaking but really people just need to learn to cope with the occasional background noise.

  5. Charlotte Lucas*

    Not only does my employer understand the realities of WFH, but one of the most popular pages on our intranet consists of pictures of people’s pets.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        It would be so much harder for me to get through the meetings if not for the hope that a kitty or a pup would at some point wander into someone’s camera view. (Bonus points for a MEOW/WOOF on camera.)

      2. Momma Bear*

        We don’t use video on our conference calls, but our cats frequently participate in zoom class. Our male cat thinks Shakespeare is fascinating.

        1. Quoth the Raven*

          My Australian Cattle Dog thinks the ESL classes my mum teaches are super interesting, and will appear on camera at least once per session, much to the kids’ enjoyment.

    1. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

      I’m watching my neighbor’s cat so I can use the apartment as my office. He has NO chill.

    2. Ree*

      I feel like we might work for the same company, because the Pets of ______ page is definitely the most popular….

    3. Farrah Sahara*

      Sounds like my office, too.

      We hosted a large virtual Zoom conference for clients recently, with 500 guests attending.
      The invite specifically said, “Turn the camera on and pets are welcome too!”

      It was so great to see people calling in with their cats, puppies and the occasional bird on someone’s lap.

    4. Rock Prof*

      The last day of the remote class I taught in spring, after the exam, ended with a big cat party (and one dog).

      1. Just J.*

        Seconded. And thirded and on to a million. If I see you with shoes on in the house and on my carpets, I will be *irate* and you will be the one shampooing the carpets.

        1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          Same here. I do have a few pairs of fancy shoes that I’ve only won indoors to parties and similar events. But even so, I’d rather not wear them around my house all day long. Three years ago, I ripped out the old living room carpet, and my then 24yo son refinished the hardwood floor that was under it. I gave myself a back injury, that never quite went away, while removing the carpet. And my son put a lot of hard work into the refinish and did a spectacular job. No way in heck am I going to wear heels, or anything other than slippers, on that floor on a regular basis.

          1. Pipe Organ Guy*

            I do have a pair of shoes I wear at home; they’re purpose-made for organists, and I wear them when I’m practicing. Thin sueded leather soles and heels, heels shorter front to back and a bit taller than street shoes–a close relative to dance shoes. Just the right combination of grip and slip for playing pedals, and they allow playing chords when necessary. When I’m done, they go back into my music bag.

        2. Not A Girl Boss*

          Seriously, and we don’t even have carpet. When lockdown started and we turned our dining room into a home gym… I bought new, never-worn-outside, gym shoes for that room.

          Also, my feet have been in SO MUCH less pain since I stopped wearing shoes all the time. I haven’t had a single flare-up up plantar fasciitis since March. I did, however, try on heels the other day and wonder how I ever withstood them on a daily basis.

        3. JustaTech*

          I’m a shoes on all the time kind of person (not heels, shoes with arch support), but even *I* know better than to wear shoes in other people’s houses unless explicitly told to!
          If it’s winter I bring soft slippers or very heavy socks and try to spend at least some time sitting.

          I used to have a coworker who was always cold who actually brought a pair of fuzzy slippers to work to wear if she got too cold, because if she got too cold she would get really grumpy. If fuzzy slippers are good enough for the office-office then they’re fine for the home office!

        4. Pennalynn Lott*

          Honest question: Do “no shoes” households just not have any pets?

          I have four cats and a huge Great Pyrenees. The dog goes outside (obviously) and can step in all kinds of gross stuff in my lawn, especially because my yard backs up to a forested creek area so there are all kinds of wildlife pooping, peeing, and barfing in my yard.

          The cats, being cats, tend to hoark up hairballs or to gorge-eat and immediately regurgitate a full stomach’s worth of food.

          So I wear shoes inside my house to *protect my feet*! I’d rather clean cat barf off the bottom of, say, my flip-flops than clean it out from in between my toes. And just having a dog who goes outside half a dozen times a day means that my carpets will never, ever be clean.

          So I’m curious how no-shoes-in-the-house people deal with pets.

          1. waywardsister*

            5 cats, 2 of whom enjoy a good barf about once a week. My husband and I rarely step in it when it happens, but of course there’s the odd time I’ve foot-planted in a good hork-up. We’re Canadian though and, as mentioned, culturally wearing shoes in the house is not a thing. Mud, rain, snow and general city gunge (people’s spit, pigeon poop, etc)? I’ll take my chances with the odd barf.

            That said, I can totally see flip flops being house shoes! But not outdoor ones.

            My sister has a newfie-goofie and they just clean his furry feet before he comes back in the house. He has a mat, towel, etc.

      2. Rainbow Brite*

        Oh, yes! I live in a flat with hardwood floors and downstairs neighbours who also WFH, I can’t think of an easier way to make them hate me.

        1. AnonInTheCity*

          Can confirm, we live in a condo with upstairs neighbors who have no carpets and wear shoes in the house all day, and we kind of hate them. We had to beg them to buy a rug at least for the spot directly above our baby’s crib because they kept waking him up by…I don’t know, playing basketball and clog dancing, judging by the sound.

      3. Annastasia von Beaverhausen*

        Deeply culturally insensitive as well. I hope the company has no Japanese employees. Or Canadians. Or Germans. Or those from the Middle East. Or other Asian countries.

        1. TheLayeredOne*

          That’s what I was thinking – some cultures have strong norms against wearing shoes indoors, and it can be considered extremely disrespectful and offensive. This policy is so tone-deaf. Not to mention individual preferences and germ-tolerance levels…personally I wear shoes in my house, but I know that would be unthinkable to plenty of people. The company has no standing (ha!) to tell employees what to wear on their feet in their own homes.

        2. Jennifer Juniper*

          Or employees who wear skirts or dresses! Do they expect the ladies to hike up their skirts and kick their shoes up on their desks for the camera? Sounds like something dreamed up by a fetishist.

          1. Keymaster of Gozer*

            No, they’ll just tell you to not wear skirts or dresses. In my experience anyway.

            (Apparently trousers and heels are ‘more professional’ than my comfy yet smart floor length skirt and sensible shoes. I don’t own any trousers, jeans, leggings, etc)

        3. Alaska Admin*

          Can also add Alaska to the list of places where people don’t regularly wear shoes indoors (and it’s considered pretty rude to wear them inside someone else’s house).

        4. allathian*

          Or Finns. I’m not so sure about Sweden, Denmark and Norway, they have the sort of cosmopolitan upper class that goes with a monarchy and for whom wearing shoes indoors is a given, but I’m not so sure about the rest of those societies. I mean, Canada is a part of the British Commonwealth and most Canadians don’t wear shoes indoors.

          1. JustaTech*

            I always figured it was a “snowy part of the world” thing that you don’t wear shoes in the house. And having stepped in semi-melted snow in my socks (snow I had tracked in, so my own fault), I can see why that is a sensible thing.

      4. The New Wanderer*

        The shoe check thing just doesn’t even make sense. It’s a 5 second or less scan down to the feet (I assume) one time prior to a meeting. So, what prevents anyone from having a pair of shoes they can slip on for those 5 seconds and immediately shuck as soon as the camera is off their feet? I don’t mean not having an appropriate pair of clean/indoor-only work appropriate shoes without buying some, which is obviously an issue that comes from the same privileged place as “must have dedicated room for work, therefore move.” I mean that it’s a completely pointless exercise that leads to malicious compliance at best and proves absolutely nothing.

        FWIW, we are in the US and don’t allow outdoor shoes past the entrances to the house, but my husband and I wear inside-only shoes/slippers on the hardwood floors and no shoes at all on the carpeted areas (the kids always go barefoot, their preference).

        1. Amaranth*

          I can’t see how they will even view the shoes *on the feet* — unless everyone pulls over a stepladder everyone will have to awkwardly hike up a leg or reach down, pull off a shoe and wave it at the camera.

          1. Keymaster of Gozer*

            I’m disabled and can’t even reach my own feet, good luck to any employer who wants to see them!

            (For info: they do get washed and cleaned. Husband is a god)

      5. Zombeyonce*

        I’m staying with my in-laws right now and they would be very upset to find me wearing work-appropriate shoes on their nice white carpet. I’d love to watch my mother-in-law on the phone with the managers responsible for the shoe check policy.

        1. squidarms*

          Yeah, I’m living with my parents right now for lockdown-related reasons, and I think my dad might have a heart attack if he caught me wearing work shoes in the office with the wall-to-wall white carpeting.

      6. AnonEMoose*

        My husband teases me about my dislike for shoes. I wear them only if I must. The rest of the time I’m barefoot, in socks, or in “nap socks,” which are these heavier socks made of a heavy stretchy terrycloth – they’re basically my replacement for slippers.

        1. Elizabeth West*

          This is me; I take shoes off the second I get in the house. I’ve been known to go outside in my socks (this used to drive my mum crazy when I was a kid).

        2. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

          “nap socks,”

          That’s perfect! I have similar ones (after googling to check I’d understood correctly what terrycloth is) that I know as “apartment socks”, and one of my pet hates is when I’ve been wearing them indoors and then need to unexpectedly put shoes on to go outside, because they make your feet half a size smaller and I hate stuffing shoes on top of them, but I refuse to change into ‘normal’ socks!

          1. Not A Girl Boss*

            I’m such a ridiculous human that I literally bought half-size-up slip ons when I was potty training my puppy, so I could run outside with her without changing socks.

        3. lilsheba*

          I hate shoes too. As I mentioned in my post I never wear them inside, partly because yuck, and partly because I just hate the way they feel. I wear socks or go barefoot. I don’t wear slippers, hate them too lol.

          1. AnonEMoose*

            I’ve just always preferred bare feet or socks. Every time someone spouts the women loving shoes stereotype at me, I laugh at them. It used to annoy my mother that I wore socks instead of slippers, but…now that I’m buying the socks, I can wear them out if I want to!

            1. Jennifer Juniper*

              I can’t wear high heels, either. Autism makes me trip over large blocks of air. Heels would make me unable to walk unaided on anything except a perfectly flat surface.

        4. allathian*

          I spent most of my summers in bare feet when I was a kid and we lived in the country. It tingled a bit at first, but by the end of the summer, I could run barefoot at full speed over gravel. I really didn’t like having to wear shoes again in the fall, and the thing that convinced me was that I got new shoes for school.

    1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      As JSPA mentioned in a thread above — that may be the goal not a side effect. If they quit, they don’t get UI and the company doesn’t have the bad press of laying people off. Bad press for requiring a dress code even at home won’t get nearly the notice as laying a large group of employees off will. One might look like “entitled” employees and the other will make the business look like it’s going under — possibly scaring off investors or customers.

    2. Momma Bear*

      Agreed. Work appropriate shirt and please wear something on the bottom so you don’t flash – sure. But to be dressed head to toe with shoes in your home? A bit much.

      1. AnonEMoose*

        This. I wear a work-appropriate shirt if I have any meetings scheduled. But I’m usually wearing leggings on the bottom half. Now, in my workplace, that wouldn’t be the worst thing if I did have to stand up on camera. But really, clothing checks seem like such a petty thing given what we’re all dealing with right now.

    3. Code Monkey the SQL*

      I would crack up at someone trying to make me wear shoes on camera.

      1: No.
      2: Are you going to come make me?
      3. I only Zoom on camera an average of 45 minutes a week. Nobody sees my HAIR, let alone the rest of me.
      4: Because of where my computer/”office” is, I can’t actually back up far enough for someone to see my feet on camera and I’m not taking you on a tour of my house.
      5: If you want to see my feet I’m going to flip my foot around and pat myself on the head with it, because I can and I want to freak you out just before I quit.

      Sooooo, let’s stick with reason 1, shall we?

    4. Rikki Tikki Tarantula*

      I wear shoes indoors, but that’s because I’m too busy/tired to sweep my floors endlessly, and I despise the feeling of stuff on the bottom of my feet. But since I’ve worked from home for years now, my only shoes are Teva sandals in summer and Chuck Taylors in the cold weather.

      1. old curmudgeon*

        I wear shoes in my house because my right leg is an inch longer than the left one, and I develop crippling back pain if I try to walk around without something on my feet to level my legs.

    5. MissDisplaced*

      IF the company #1 was saying that about CLIENT or SALES calls, and that in these cases employees should dress up (at least on top) for the call, I could see a justification for it. But for internal calls it’s just ridiculous. No one cares about your sweatpants or pajamas.

      1. Amaranth*

        I think in the case of someone who is public facing I can understand *pants* — or you know, establishing a rule that when people work they wear at least something that passes for business casual on the lower half. There have been lots of stories about people who have to stand and end up displaying joggers, boxers, Snoopy pajamas, etc.
        Going to the extent of *checking* during internal meetings though? This sounds like a boss who feels fluffy slippers would be disrespecting him personally.

  6. Quickbeam*

    Wow! Shoe checks! My company falls in the middle. Grateful for the work we’ve accompolised this year but itching to get us back to the cube farm. I’m grateful no one is telling me that my living room is not an appropriate space.

    1. LizABit*

      I’m working in the office. Don’t check under my desk to see if I’m wearing shoes! (I’m not.)

      1. IT Relationship Manager*

        …also I might not be wearing shoes under my office desk at work 100% of the time.

        Why do I need to wear shoes at home? Clearly this office is having power trips. I can *maybe* see requesting people wear pants but really this is ridiculous, you shouldn’t even do this for a school and they are insane about dress codes.

        1. Batty Twerp*

          Pants, yes. (Amusing to note that I had to do some mental translation here and took from the context that it means trousers, not underwear!) I was on a video conference call recently where one participant turned and stood up to get a folder and was apparently wearing what appeared to be Wookie joggers with a more professional top. Certainly an interesting fashion choice, and quite unintentional (I don’t believe he had intended to stand up at any point during the call).
          Shoes, heck no. I didn’t wear footwear beyond slippers between March and August, and putting even trainers on again to deliver some birthday presents was a weird sensation.

          1. Former Admin turned Project Manager*

            I call that “sartorial mullet;” business up top and casual below camera range. My son goes to a private school that is requiring the uniform shirt to be worn on Zoom calls, but no one can tell the difference between uniform trousers and dark sweatpants if he stands up briefly.

      2. The Rural Juror*

        Oh I’ve definitely gotten up from my desk, walked down the hall towards the bathroom, then had to turn around half-way to go back for my shoes! It actually happens quite a bit that people in our company will take off their shoes on days when it’s muddy and wet outside. We have tile in the hallway, but carpet in our offices, so we try not to wear wet muddy shoes on the carpet. You’ll see a lot of people in socks on those days! (We’re a construction company, so there’s a lot of dirty shoes around here).

  7. What's in a name?*

    I have a firm no shoes on carpet rule in my house. I would expect a carpet cleaning reimbursement if I was required to wear shoes.

    Unless I can get away with bunny slippers, of course.

    1. Laika*

      I think shoes-in-the-h0use tends to be an American phenomenon… but I don’t even wear my dress shoes at my desk at work (I mean, barring meetings etc). I have a pair of work-appropriate house slippers masquerading as loafers that I slip off/on under my desk. If my employer told me to wear shoes indoor, in my own house, on my own carpet, I’d revolt.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        It’s not even a 100% American, but I agree that I’ve only seen it be widespread here in the US. One of my exes was adamant about wearing street shoes in the house, and even on the bed (yikes). He used to try and make me feel bad for not wearing mine indoors (“is that a cultural thing? is that a religious thing?”) until one day, one of his adult children came to visit and told me “oh, yeah, that’s dad, we all tried to get him to stop wearing shoes in the house, couldn’t ever get through to him. None of the rest of us do it.” (By the end of our relationship, we got to the point where we’d help each other with housework, and oh my god his floors were always dirty! Like, several layers of dirt. He blamed it on his indoor cats. Yeah, right.)

        1. That Girl from Quinn's House*

          My mom recently lamented that “I tried so hard to get you girls to wear shoes in the house, I bought you all sorts of slippers, but you insisted on walking around barefoot like slobs.” Like not wearing shoes indoors is some sort of moral failing.

          1. Putting Out Fires, Esq*

            My older son (who, to be fair, is 4) is a Sock Child. His socks are on all the time, regardless of weather. He, horror of horrors, even wears socks to bed every night. Shoes, no. But since I only wear socks when it’s chilly and I am not forcing socks on his feet, I am left to assume that foot-cover preference is possibly innate. My younger son is much more in line with us barefoot semi-animals.

            1. Birdie*

              I am a Sock Person and have them on pretty much all the time when I’m at home, ha. Absolutely no shoes, though, so I think That Girl from Quinn’s House’s mom might still be unimpressed!

            2. talos*

              I was also a Sock Child! (I still like socks, but am now willing to go without)

              I just didn’t like how carpet, or anything else, my bedsheets included, felt on my feet.

              1. Putting Out Fires, Esq*

                We put socks on him as a baby because obviously he couldn’t have a blanket, so it was either socks or footie PJs. But now that he’s in a big kid bed with sheets and a comforter, he still wears socks. His little brother also gets the socks because he doesn’t have a blanket yet, but he is perfectly happy to tug off one or both and wander around the house in a chaotic state of foot-undress. Like I said, must be innate.

              2. lilsheba*

                It’s funny how different people are. I hate wearing socks in bed, I want to feel my sheets on my feet! lol.

                1. Jennifer Juniper*

                  Socks to bed, unless it’s the dead of winter, falls in the same category as socks with sandals, at least for me.

            3. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

              barefoot semi-animals

              I would happily go barefoot in the house except that I can’t stand the sound (and feeling) of “feet sticking to things” (and related sounds, like flip flops endlessly going flffffshhhhhh shllllp flffffshhhhhh shllllp) and as a person with laminate flooring everywhere and feels naturally warm all the time that would happen a lot.

            4. Seeking Second Childhood*

              I wear socks to bed… clean ones on freshly washed tootsies… because otherwise my feet become living ice cubes that make my husband shriek on touch.

            5. allathian*

              I like to keep my bedroom as cool as possible, but my feet get cold easily. So I wear socks to bed, but nothing else.

            6. JustaTech*

              I was a Sock Child and wore socks to sleep until I moved to LA for college. My parents didn’t insist on shoes in the house unless you were going into the unfinished basement (my dad did woodworking there so there could be nails and stuff on the floor). My mom did try to get us to not *run* in socks on the wood or tiles floors after the time my brother slipped running in socks and slid face-first into the wall and split his lip.

          2. hbc*

            Yeah, I think “shod feet” are a basic part of being presentable to some people, and that includes being presentable to your family. You wouldn’t walk around topless, so why would you walk around shoeless?

            1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

              But you can walk around in sandals or flip-flops. And you can be shoeless on a beach or in a swimming pool. And you won’t get charged with indecent exposure for having your bare feet visible (really hope it stays that way). I’m confounded tbh. This is the first I’m hearing about bare feet being indecent to the point where you cannot show them to your family.

              Also, men can and do walk around topless, but that’s a story for another day.

              1. allathian*

                In some Asian cultures you mustn’t show the soles of your feet to another person, because they’re figuratively, if not literally, dirty. The climate is such that people could go barefoot the year round, and impoverished people probably still do. But the taboo only applies to the soles, not the tops of the feet or the toes.

          3. Burnout Phoenix*

            My mom was like that. If we dared show up to the dinner table without shoes on… we were sent back to get shoes. We couldn’t possibly dine barefoot! Insert pearl-clutching here.

            I have no idea where she got that from.

            1. allathian*

              Barefoot is not the same as without shoes on. There’s such a thing as stockinged feet. That’s my MO indoors most of the time.

            2. JustaTech*

              It could be a two part thing: a respect thing, where you are showing your respect for food/elders/guests by taking the time to put your shoes on, and a poverty thing, where only poor people don’t have shoes so we will prove we are not poor by putting on shoes.

              Or it could be something else entirely. Shoes seem to be one of those things that everyone has a lot of strong feelings about.

      2. Littorally*

        It’s also a thing in at least some parts of Europe. When I went to live with my relatives in Valencia for a while, it was shoes on all the time, indoors and out.

        1. allathian*

          Yes. When I lived in Spain as a student, I was amazed that my roommates expected us to wash the tile floors literally twice a day. The climate was dry, so there would be a lot of dust, but everyone also wore shoes indoors all the time. So did I, although I did make a point of switching to my indoor shoes, because I would go only so far and no further against my own ingrained cultural taboos.

      3. Arts Akimbo*

        American here, but I only started wearing shoes indoors because of wicked plantar fascitis. I miss being sock-clad all day!

        1. BarbaraD*

          I, unfortunately, am in the same position. I recently apologized to a dear friend for wearing shoes in her house while teaching her how to make jam. There is no way I would have been able to stand that long without my “support shoes”.

    2. ALM2019*

      I for some reason associate wearing shoes to being productive – for myself only. I don’t care what anyone else wears or doesn’t wear in their own home. But for some reason barefoot or just socks feels like I should be curled up in a chair relaxing. I bought a cheap pair of slip on sneakers early on while WFH and those are now my inside only shoes. They’ve never been worn outside and it helps me that “shoes on” means time to work.

    3. nm*

      I think it also depends on climate. Where I live in the US is incredibly muddy, basically a huge swamp. Nobody I know here wears shoes indoors. I have never seen carpet in a public building in this area because it would be impossible to keep clean. Hardwood and tile only.

      1. UKDancer*

        Definitely it’s hugely location dependent and culturally divergent. A lot of it may be weather related. I grew up in the wet chilly North of England so mum made us wear indoor shoes or slippers and change into outdoor shoes when we went out to reduce mud on her carpets. My ex grew up in the sunny South of England so this was much less of a thing.

        I prefer outdoor shoes off but don’t like being barefoot so tend to wear either house shoes or slippers because that feels better to me. I don’t police what other people do on zoom calls.

        1. Keymaster of Gozer*

          Grew up in a very wet and muddy area of England so your outdoor shies were never ever to come into the house further than the hallway.

          Used to wear slippers indoors, until disability issues which mean bare feet actually provide better traction on surfaces. Not outdoors, not crazy enough to go out in cold wet British weather without covering.

    1. Sharrbe*

      Right? And even IF an employee complied with that completely unreasonable expectation, they would probably get berated for needing time off to look at places and moving.

    2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      You’d think a demand like this cannot be made without giving people massive raises to cover the moving expenses and the increased rent/mortgage payments for a larger home, but here we are!

    3. KHB*

      I know, right? My home office is in the corner of the bedroom. My partner’s office is in the corner of the living room. Those are all the rooms we have. Neither of our employers has a problem with this arrangement, as far as they’ve let on, but if they did, my first question would be “How much more do you plan on paying me so I can afford to live in a place with two spare bedrooms?”

    4. BRR*

      I haven’t stopped thinking about that comment. There are so many big reasons why this is an awful demand that I keep interrupting myself with why this is a stupid/implausible thing to suggest.

      1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

        It did bring back the memories of my first, Insanely Unprofessional Boss, telling me to buy a new car because “everyone else in our department has one and you’re making the rest of us look bad”.

          1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

            Haha, exactly as much as you’d expect!

            Believe it or not, he stopped by my apartment one Saturday morning to pick me up and take me to a car dealership, to have me look at new cars; where we were both told that, since my credit history was practically nonexistent (being a new immigrant), I’d be charged a ridiculously high interest rate, unless someone cosigned. Then they asked Boss if he wanted to be my cosigner. He noped out of there so fast. On the drive home, he just kept repeating “I cannot do it, my wife will kill me”, and the subject of my old car being inappropriate for work never came up again :)

            1. Three Flowers*

              Would I be correct if I guessed that you could write an entire novel about this boss without inventing a thing?

              1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

                Oh hell yes. And I was only in his orbit for a couple of years.

                He lives close to my area, and at one point, I used to see him in the stores in my neighborhood a lot. Whenever I’d see him, I’d hide. I have enough stories of that man and do not want any new, updated ones.

            2. Evan Þ.*

              I can fault a lot of things about that boss, but I can’t fault his personal financial prudence!

              (Or, at least, his wife’s?)

        1. Quill*

          Oooh, did you work for my pig lab boss at any point? He gave me a lecture when I bought my first car that I should have gotten a lexus.

          You know what you paid me, dude. Ford is fine.

        2. Ice and Indigo*

          So he basically admitted that the wage they were paying, and the lifestyle it allowed, was a bad look for the company?

            1. Ice and Indigo*

              Some people really don’t get that the money they pay you is the money you have, do they?

    5. Sacred Ground*

      Depending on where you live, it may be a lot easier to just find a new job than to move your whole household for the sake of this one.

    6. Elenna*

      Apparently the friend who works at that company emailed the people who sent the policy asking what the procedure was for being reimbursed for the cost of a new home – after all, if home size is a work requirement now, then of course the company will reimburse the expense?

      Surprise, surprise, they have yet to receive a response to that question.

      1. Zombeyonce*

        I’d also like to know if the company plans to keep people remote permanently. Somehow I wouldn’t be surprised if they expect people to return to the office once it’s safe to do so, even after they’ve moved to a larger home to accommodate remote work.

    7. Phony Genius*

      Is there any state in the U.S. where a “move or you’re fired” policy is actually illegal? My guess is no, but if anybody knows of one, please let us know.

      1. Captain Kirk*

        I’d be curious if it’s even illegal in Europe, considering that this company appears to be pioneering new forms of jerkiness. Not sure if anyone ever thought a company would actually do this!

        1. Liz*

          IANAL but by UK law I believe if they sacked someone for this it would very likely fall under unfair or constructive dismissal: https://www.gov.uk/dismissal/unfair-and-constructive-dismissal

          The law here tends not to state specific things you CANNOT be fired for (protected categories aside), but rather broad categories of what is not legal or fair treatment, as well as specifying what employers SHOULD do when following a dismissal process. Note that “not having a good reason for dismissal” is first on the list as being potentially unfair. I would imagine this would easily cover being sacked for not owning a big enough house. Alternatively, it could probably be labelled constructive dismissal in accordance with the point about “forc[ing] you to accept unreasonable changes to how you work”, perhaps?

        2. perstreperous*

          As you say, it is so peculiar it is probably unprecedented. However, in that situation, the employee could probably resign and claim constructive dismissal (UK), which is where the employer wrongfully makes working conditions so intolerable that the employee is forced to resign.

          (Obliging the employee to buy a bigger house out of their own pocket as their workplace must almost be the definition of “intolerable”!)

      2. anonThisTime*

        I used to work for a company that was bought by another company. The old company had employees on both coasts of the US. The new company basically required that many of the employees move to be at what they decided is their new office (on 1 of the coasts) or be laid off (with severance). It seemed to be legal. They lost a LOT of great employees, but apparently that was their goal.

        1. WS*

          My dad’s company did this – they had two satellite offices and decided to combine them into one. They were 500km apart. Very few people made the move, and most who did were younger staff who didn’t have partners and children to uproot.

    8. Amethystmoon*

      Eventually, someone who is differently-abled is going to complain to HR about that one. I work with someone who would probably not be able to comply with the order about showing feet for sure, as she is partially paralyzed.

    9. Book Badger, Attorney-at-Claw*

      As someone who window shops a lot on Zillow, I can say that right now, in my city of 14k, there are a grand total of TWO apartments for rent right now, both studios. There’s an eviction moratorium and no one wants to voluntarily move right now, so the ability to actually move somewhere is nearly impossible even if you wanted to, and I live in a place with a relatively low COL!

    10. Fake Old Converse Shoes (not in the US)*

      It was already complicated and now that rent increased by 40% minimum in my area… Definitely not possible.
      And that’s without considering the requirements landlords and real estate firms put in place, because nobody wants to rent to a potential jobless or bankrupt person.

  8. Lynn*

    I think especially right now people know they can get away with it short term because the job market is so scary right now, and they don’t care about long term because they hope to be in new positions themselves by then.

    1. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      Not to mention that (saying this even as a person with a sense of the “big picture”) the short term is all that can really be accommodated for most people at the mo, because looking long-term presupposes that you have got through the short term first. At this point it’s just survival for many (individuals and companies both).

  9. NotsorecentAAMfan*

    “ work demands have invaded our staff’s personal space, ” and “uninvited guests “.
    I LOVE that way of thinking of things!! So reasonable and compassionate and appropriate!!

    1. ThePear8*

      Same! It’s so true – no one really asked for this situation or to bring work home with them, so this approach makes so much sense!

    2. Bostonian*

      I really like that framing, too. Nobody asked for this!

      (Well, some people… maybe including myself… really welcome the full-time WFH, but *most* people would absolutely NOT choose this current set-up for working from home)

    3. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      agreed. I hadn’t really thought of it that way but that is what it feels like. I rearranged my apartment slightly to make sure I had adequate lighting on my face, so I didn’t look like I was in witness protection, and a neutral but well-staged bookshelf behind me so nobody saw my laundry and dishes. The virtual backgrounds have never really worked well for me (it takes chunks out of my face and hair) and for some people it’s too much for their computer/internet service to handle and they freeze up when using one.

  10. Anon for this*

    My boss wants to believe he is the second, but really he is the first. And it is why I am currently job hunting.

  11. Caroline*

    Wow, there’s tone deaf, and then there’s that first company, which is so far beyond that I don’t know how to describe it. I would be so demoralized by that.

  12. Former Govt Contractor*

    I love my company. They have already announced WFH through the school year 2021. They’ve taken such good care of us. I worry about my husband all the time though – his coworkers won’t even wear masks.

  13. The Cardinal*

    I count myself lucky. My organization uses Microsoft Teams. During meetings within our small group of 10, about 6 prefer to use video and audio full time, 3 will use both occasionally, I strictly use audio only, and nobody cares at all.

    1. SarahKay*

      We’re on MS Teams too, and since this all started in late March I’ve been on just 3 calls where we’ve been asked or at least strongly encouraged to turn on the camera – I have complied for one of those calls. Mostly we’re audio only, for which I remain exceedingly grateful.
      And here’s the thing: I’ve been WFH for 7 months now and have continued to dress in work clothes (business end of business-casual) because for me it helps keep a separation between work and home. I could pass a pants/skirt-and-shoes test at any time but my company and managers are not absurdly out-of-touch with reality and thus don’t make such demands.

      1. UKDancer*

        Ditto. I prefer to wear business clothes as it puts me in the right mindset but I would be very annoyed if the company tried to insist or check on it.

        Fortunately they’ve only asked that we look tidy on key meetings on video which I don’t think is unreasonable and we ‘re encouraged to use an office type background on our work laptops so we look reasonably professional. I prefer this to letting people see my place in general.

    2. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

      From what I’ve seen that’s a standard sort of ratio. I work cross-company and have contact with a lot of teams, but the 2 teams I have pretty much daily meetups with:
      – Team 1 – 7 people; 5 always use video, 1 sometimes uses it and 1 never uses it.
      – Team 2 – 6 people; 3 always use video, 2 sometimes/occasionally and 1 never.

      (I’m the only person “in common” between these 2 teams)

      I always use my video because I’m (privileged I suppose) have an internet connection that supports it, and I find it’s much easier for communication to be able to give facial expressions, gestures etc while talking (or listening, although the focus is obviously on the speaker when someone else is talking. I have raised a cynical eyebrow or similar in response to what someone was saying a few times, but it wasn’t noticed!)

      For 1-to-1 video chats I find it especially useful if the other person turns on their video, although if they haven’t I don’t ask them to.

      1. UKDancer*

        Yes I also prefer video on. I’m bad at judging tone of voice so video makes it easier for me to see moods and respond. But I don’t insist on it and my company doesn’t make rules on the issue. They’ve asked people with video on to use a professional background for serious meetings but that’s it. I would say about 75% of us use video in general but it varies.

    3. Kyrielle*

      We do have a mandate from our company regarding video calls – unless you need the video for some reason, don’t use it for participants, just presenters if they want to. Because of bandwidth, but I imagine I’m not the only one thrilled that their policy is “don’t” rather than telling us how to.

    4. JustaTech*

      My company uses WebEx, and for most of my meetings it’s with folks at our other sites, so meetings that were always a conference call and shared screen, so even now almost no one ever bothers with video.

      If talking was good enough before it’s good enough now.

  14. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    My government job very rarely has people even turn on cameras. I have worked naked when dealing with skin issues and having all my clothes in the wash! I usually wear pants because of said skin issues- I don’t need the rubbing- but I put on shoes maybe twice a week!

    1. Hazel*

      It makes me too anxious to sit at my desk in my underwear, let alone naked! I just can’t relax, & I imagine some kind of laptop camera snafu where the rest of the team could see me, even when I have the camera physically covered.

      1. Charlotte Lucas*

        That’s why you put a piece of tape or stocky note over your laptop camera. If it’s turned on by mistake, everyone just sees yellow (or whatever color you choose).

        1. I'm just here for the cats*

          There’s also these privacy slider things that you can get to go over your camera. I don’t know what they are called but my company handed out a bunch of them I have it on my work computer and I brought one for home ( as no one else wanted the last one). I love it! It just sticks over your camera area and then there’s a slide to cover/uncover the camera.

          1. Alica*

            I used to use a piece of tape, then I saw those in a recommendation somewhere. Oh my days – for the few quid it cost it’s brilliant! Easy slide on/off for camera, and I don’t have to faff around anymore. Thankfully our daily work skype call doesn’t require camera, but we have a family zoom quiz every Sunday. I actually want to see my family!

        2. Seeking Second Childhood*

          I’m with Hazel– “even when I have the camera physically covered” I found myself checking that the cover’s on during calls, and that was fleece pajamas with a pullover on top. (630am conference, they get what they get.)

    2. anon for this*

      I have the same issue from the opposite perspective. I have a circulatory disorder but I also like not paying a fortunate for the electricity, so if I have to WFH and it isn’t the summer, I probably have ski pants and winter boots on.

      1. SarahKay*

        Slightly OT, but I just bought a heated mat and I love it so much. It’s the size of a door mat and claims to use about as much power as an old-fashioned light-bulb (not yet confirmed how true this is) and my feet are now beautifully toasty-warm all day. The mat itself cost £50, but if the electricity use is as good as it claims it will be worth every penny since I’ll have warm feet without having to heat the whole house.
        I have poor circulation, so can absolutely sympathise with you. Thankfully for me it’s not an actual disorder, but cold feet and hands are a regular thing for me, such that every single coat I own has a pair of woolly gloves in its pockets and I have hot-water bottles at night unless it’s high summer.

      2. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

        I don’t want to “solutionize” but have you tried a small “space fan heater” type of thing for your immediate work area – they are much more efficient than they used to be even 10 years ago (so cost less to run) — I have one that sits on or near my desk in cold weather and generates enough heat even on a low-ish setting for me to be comfortable. (I’ve been using this since before enforced WFH as I spend a lot of time at my computer in ‘downtime’ as well!) For best effect you need to be able to enclose it into a small-ish area like a single room, though (so it may be no-go if you have open plan for example).

  15. CurrentlyBill*

    I wonder if the shoe rule could subject an employer to a racial discrimination lawsuit considering the variations on indoor shoe use potentially rooted in ethnic/national background.

    1. The Rural Juror*

      I doubt that argument would hold up. Certain cultures have tradition of not wearing shoes in the house, but not everyone of that race would have the same tradition or preferences. There are plenty of people from all walks of life who think having shoes on in their homes is gross. And there are people of all races or cultures who don’t care as much.

    2. SomebodyElse*

      Then the reasonable response from an unreasonable company who wants to have this rule is “Buy a new pair of shoes that are only worn indoors” thus negating the argument for not wearing shoes in the house.

  16. drago cucina*

    My new grandboss has a weekly, optional meeting. Still being new kid I like to attend to get a good feel for the environment and keep up on news. Generally we’re not on camera unless we need to share our desktop. His suggestion was to use the call in number and take advantage of our nice fall weather (65-75 F) to take a walk during the meeting. If we missed something follow-up later. If there’s a BIG deal issue they’ll contact us directly.

    Just being able to put away my notebook and be relaxed rather than writing down every word is helpful.

  17. Mel_05*

    My employer has been pretty good. There are a few things I think they could have done differently, but even on zoom calls, we’re clearly all in our slouchy clothes and it’s fine.

  18. That Girl from Quinn's House*

    Pants, I sort of get. If someone’s sitting there in their dress top and skimpy thong (male or female!!!) and their cat claws their leg so they suddenly jump up and flash the entire meeting? That’s an issue for the company, and it’s fair to say, “Hey you should be wearing bottoms that are appropriate for public when you’re in a meeting.” But shoes? Shoes are nuts.

    1. JustKnope*

      But like… they need to trust their employees to wear appropriate pants, without doing a “check”!

      1. Oxford Comma*

        I could understand an all staff memo if there was an incident where Jane stood up and the client and the team all learned she likes to go alfresco all the time, but checks?

        1. babblemouth*

          Yeah, there’s a very public scandal about something like this right now, and my position on demanding people wear pants has changed overnight. I’ve gone from could-not-care-less to hell-yeah-everyone-wears-pants

  19. Meg*

    I cannot wrap my head around the move into a bigger space employer. I live in DC, and as a single person with on roommates, I’m already at the top of my budget. Having a 1 bedroom (not a studio) IS a splurge of sorts for me. Not to mention, I love my apartment and don’t particularly want to have to furnish and maintain a whole other room. I mean, sure if I’m going to be working from home full time forever a dedicated office would be great. But I can’t afford a bigger apartment, and I don’t really think it’s my company’s business if I’m in a corner of my living room or whatever.

    1. NotAnotherManager!*

      I also live in the DC area, and many, many of my junior staff live in shared housing because of cost-of-living. Been there, done that, have the t-shirt, and would never ask them to MOVE because of work. We have provided guidance on appropriately protecting client materials and worked with people when they’ve asked questions or raised concerns. But telling them to move is not even an option, and I’d have words for anyone who tried to roll that out, unless they are planning to pay the rent delta for the duration of the lease.

      1. Meg*

        yes! I’m 32 and I’m in my first apartment without roommates and it feels like such a luxury during this work from home time.

      2. Archaeopteryx*

        Yeah where we live a two-bedroom that isn’t an hour outside the city would start at about 2200/month. Hard pass.

    2. Dog Coordinator*

      I live in the Boston area, and rent a house with my partner. We were lucky to move into a 2-bedroom in November, before this all started. The second bedroom was always planned to be, and is, my partner’s recording studio, as he’s a musician and audio engineer. Now that I’m WFH (and may transition to a fully remote position with a new company based in another state), we’ve talked about how we would need a 3-bedroom house (or REALLY NICE garage in leu of a bedroom). The fact that we will eventually need to upgrade AGAIN so we both have spaces in kind of daunting! We were very lucky to find the rental we did, at the price it’s at, and next steps will be to buy a house but… . Until then, I’m content with my kitchen island or couch set up, even if it’s not ideal. If I was being told that was not good enough… well, I’d have started job hunting a long time ago.

      1. AnonInTheCity*

        Yeah, also in the Boston area and they’d have to fire the whole company because no one has the space for a dedicated office. Even the managers working from their houses on the Cape for the summer weren’t in offices, because why would you have an office in your vacation home?

  20. Former Retail Lifer*

    My husband has been working from home since March and has been working in t-shirts and shorts and no shoes, and absolutely no one has ever cared. They don’t do anything on camera with customers so it doesn’t matter. I’ve been going to work this entire time, but when my office was completely locked down and no one was allowed in, our dress code went from suits to jeans. We were basically told not to wear pajamas or anything THAT casual because a few people would pass by and see us, but it was otherwise unimportant what we wore. I can’t believe people that are working from home and are not on camera have any expectations put upon them other than just doing their job.

    1. Researcher*

      For those of us on-site, the dress code immediately went to “easily-laundered”. For infection control reasons, we want you to wear clothes that are easily and *routinely* laundered. I don’t want my people in precious clothes that they re-wear two or three times before laundering, and I don’t want them to feel obligated to go to the dry cleaner right now. Jeans are fine. Any decent looking top/shirt/whatever is fine.

      Think about how often people launder a suit and tie. And then think about all the surfaces that your sleeve touches.

      1. allathian*

        If the employer is that worried, they should provide a lab coat or scrubs that are used at work and then laundered after the working day.

  21. Roeslein*

    This person’s manager wears shoes in their home? Eww. Do slippers count? What about the fluffy ones? So many questions.

    1. Elenna*

      Apparently it’s a thing in some areas of the US?

      But I agree, eww. And if the company is asking for work-appropriate footwear, I doubt they think slippers count…

    2. SomebodyElse*

      I am right now waiting for my order to arrive of my new ‘daytime slippers’. To be fair, I do still get dressed in clothes I would wear outside of the house to work in from home. But think Saturday-run-to-the-hardware-store kind of clothes, that may or may not match.

      I won’t wear outside shoes in the house, but do have a variety of ‘day slippers’ which are different than my fuzzy robe night slippers. But I’m also from up north so we have a thing about shoes in the house and the importance of slippers. So I may not be an accurate representation of normal :)

  22. LQ*

    I think this just explains why one of my consultants demanded to see my feet when I was working from home. I thought it was a weird badly formed joke I didn’t get. But I think it was this thing. It’s so stupid. I just ignored it but now I’m going to double check with my staff because she might be trying to boss them around with this noise.

    I’m a huge fan of wearing work clothes and following work place structure but I’m not showing anyone my feet. That’s…I mean it sounds very weird.

    1. NotAnotherManager!*

      It IS very weird. I don’t prop my feet up on the conference room at work, regardless of how cute my shoes are that day. I’m sure as heck not doing it on my dining room table, where I’ve been set up to work since March.

      1. LQ*

        Weirdly I had to this for about a month at work when I had a really serious injury I had to keep elevated, but when I did that I specifically made sure it was NOT visible on camera or that people would be able to tell I was doing it. Because that’s not how you work!

    2. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      I might “jokingly” say something about fetishes not be appropriate for the work environment and you wouldn’t want any video of your feet floating around the internet.

      1. LQ*

        Well that’s what I was thinking, this sounds really creepy. I was so surprised when she said it that I didn’t do anything other than just dismiss it with a no of course not, but it’s really helpful to know the invisible (weird) context.

        1. pamela voorhees*

          I honestly cannot picture myself doing anything other than icily saying that if they ever said that again, I would go to HR. Like, picture someone walking into your office and asking “can I see your feet” – or worse, “show me your feet.” No, get out, and never speak to me again.

  23. Recreational Moderation*

    Not to veer too far off topic, but the clueless overlords of company #1 remind me of the well-to-do student whose class assignment was to write a story. He began, “Once upon a time there was a very poor family. The parents were poor. The children were poor. The butler was poor. The cook was poor. The chauffeur was poor. The upstairs maid was poor. …”
    (And yeah, everything’s relative, there are different definitions of “poor,” etc. It’s the obliviousness that gets me.)

    1. Peter Piper Picked a Peck of Pickled Peppers*

      I remember seeing this in a Reader’s Digest collection published in the 60s, and some quick online research indicates that it dates back to the 40s:

      >> 15 June 1944, Pittsburgh (PA) Post-Gazette, “Hollywood” by Hugh Dixon, Daily Magazine, pg. 4, col. 2:
      According to Irving Hoffman, the daughter of a movie producer was assigned to write an essay on poverty. Here is what she turned in: “Once there was a very poor little girl. Her mother was poor and her father was poor. The cook was poor, the second maid was poor, and the gardener was poor, and the chauffer was poor, and the governess was poor, and everybody was very, very poor.” <<

      1. Recreational Moderation*

        Thanks for the background, Peter P. I first heard this story when I was a kid—from a grandparent, I think—so am not surprised at its vintage. I do remember laughing at it while wondering if anyone could really be that clueless. At least my retelling of it wasn’t totally off the mark!

  24. irene adler*

    Wonder if Zoom (and similar) can create work-arounds for all this.
    I’ve seen the fake backgrounds. So why not fake work pants & shoes effects?
    Or, the fake super-tidy-room-dedicated-to-work-only background-including a noise filter to prevent kid & pet sounds from being broadcast to the other meeting participants?

    1. zebra*

      I recently realized that someone whose beautiful big bookcases I’d been looking at in the background of calls for months…….actually just has a curtain with bookshelf print. Who knows what’s actually behind that curtain!

      1. irene adler*

        I’ve been trying to discern the book titles on the bookshelves behind folks on TV. See what their reading tastes run towards.
        Disappointing if what I’m seeing is just a curtain.

      2. Captain dddd-cccc-ddWdd (ENTP)*

        Heh, I have a bookcase in my real background (but it isn’t beautiful, big, or grand in any other way — it’s just the place I keep the books I couldn’t replace with e-books or didn’t want to for some reason)… and I’m quite conscious of what’s visible in this bookcase.

        Until a few months ago I had one book with an obscene/offensive title, which I had totally forgotten about as it just kinda became ‘invisible’ to me, but then noticed one day and quickly turned round! and one ‘NSFW’ book, which I don’t think is visible on camera but I’ve put it away anyway.

        I didn’t put much more thought into it, as the rest of the books that appear behind me are safe for work and non-offensive — but now I’m wondering if people are looking at them, and judging me somehow. A preponderance of Harry Potter, the ‘Divergent’ novels, etc… less of weighty tomes like War and Peace, the collected works of Nietszche, the semi-final of Part 3 of the diary of Kierkegaard, etc. Lots of non-fiction, mostly programming and ‘systems’ based. And “The Bell Jar” and “Prozac Nation” cheek-by-jowl, because why wouldn’t you if you had both of them.

        1. allathian*

          I love books, but my taste in literature is what it is. It’s also intensely personal and not necessarily something I’d want to share with my coworkers. I do have Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None” in an original first paperback edition with the offensive name “Ten Little N…”

  25. Dumpster Fire*

    Do they do the pant-and-shoes check visually? If so, then I feel like I’d….oops! forget to put them on and just STAND UP! Or maybe sit in my chair (in all my no-pants-no-shoes glory) with my feet on my desk and my bare legs showing.

  26. zebra*

    Wooooooooowwwwwww that first one. I’d be happy to move to a bigger apartment, if they paid for all my moving expenses and the fee to break my current lease early, an extra week or two of PTO to handle the move itself, and a raise to cover the difference in monthly rent. Maybe I should send my manager this article and some rental listings!

  27. Nanc*

    I would be so tempted to don tartan trousers in my clan’s hunting colors and clashing two-toned spectator oxfords with spats.
    I have a one bedroom apartment and a card table I set up next to the front door when I work from home. I have zero interest in moving and zero interest in showing my space.
    I hope the letter writer can anonymously email the AAM link to TPTB and summarize the choice comments.

  28. Phony Genius*

    When telecommuting first started, we were told that OSHA rules apply at all workplaces, even if your workplace is your home. Therefore, it was subject to inspection for compliance if they wanted to. As far as I know, they never did this. I’m also not sure if what we were told about OSHA is accurate.

    Though it is an interesting question, if you have an accident in your home during working hours, is it subject to workers’ comp, etc., even if the accident was not related to the work?

    1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

      That’s certainly an interesting topic…what if it IS directly tied to work like back troubles from a non-ergonomic chair, or eye-strain from glare on the computer screen? My employer was really good in the before times about getting us the right equipment to do our job safely and comfortably; they would even have people come to the office to do an ergonomic assessment. They are …a lot less so…during the pandemic which is understandable up to a point.

    2. Evelyn*

      Back Before the pandemic, my company’s WFH policy did have some information about your office set up needing to adhere to certain OSHA guidelines, I think. Mostly related to stuff about not having your equipment (which would probably be equipment issued by the company) be a tripping or fire hazard.

    3. Three Flowers*

      I wonder if you work where I used to work (pre-pandemic). My former colleagues who are still there had to sign a WFH document agreeing that the employer could inspect their home workspaces and equipment at will.

        1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

          Doesn’t having coworkers/managers barge into your home at random to inspect it, defeat the purpose of working from home in a pandemic?!?!?! I haven’t had anyone outside of my 6-person pod (and an occasional repair worker) over at my house since March, but an employer wants to just be able to walk in anytime with random inspections? That’s not even getting into the massive invasion of privacy that it is.

          1. Three Flowers*

            I don’t think they’ve actually done it? I sure hope they haven’t. But it was in the WFH agreement anybody who asked not to return to on-site work signed. (And the employer is so powerful in that town/state, and some employees are so underpaid, that I think it would be hard for anyone to contest it successfully.)

    4. old curmudgeon*

      My employer has really been working to encourage people to develop ergonomically friendly WFH arrangements. They’ve put together a bunch of “Ergonomics for the Home Office” resources on the intranet, and they’ll even do consultations with employees who are having problems.

      As to whether or not a work-related injury incurred in a WFH situation is covered by Workers’ Comp, at least in my state it would be. If an employee (not a contractor) suffers an injury while engaged in their paid employment, it is a valid WC claim regardless of the location where it occurred.

      I do think that varies by state, though, so if you are thinking to file a claim, it would be well to check in with your state’s labor agency (or whatever agency handles WC regs).

  29. Empress Matilda (formerly Matilda Jefferies)*

    Joke’s on them – all my work-appropriate shoes are still at work! So sure, I can show you my shoes, as long as we’re clear that they’re going to be Birkenstocks, and I definitely haven’t had a pedicure since at least March.

    Although, this is a company that is asking their employees to *move houses* if they don’t have an appropriate workspace, so I doubt they would have any sympathy for my lack of footwear. The idea of buying a pair of shoes for the specific purpose of showing them off for five seconds on a work call, probably doesn’t strike them as even a little bit absurd.

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      Two different crazy companies reported by one commenter….let’s hope they don’t give each other ideas.

  30. I'm that guy*

    I’m a mid-50s male working in biopharma and have video calls with directors and VPs on a regular basis. I’ve also been wearing cartoon/anime t-shirts and sweatpants/pajama bottoms almost exclusively for the past 7 months. I’ve also dyed my hair a 6 or 7 times. No one cares, and when someone does comment it’s usually to say something positive. I’ve seen more post-apocalyptic backgrounds and Teams meetings than I can count and had a VP of IT take us on a tour of his vintage computer collection.

    Shoe checks in meetings? ROTFLOL!

    1. Spreadsheets and Books*

      I work in finance for a household name entertainment company and I wear workout clothes with a messy bun all day, every day.

      For the first few weeks, people put in an effort. Now no one cares. My VP took a call from the CFO wearing a string tank top with a sports bra underneath and a baseball cap. Everyone is over it.

      Asking me to wear shoes and real pants is asking me to quit.

    2. PSB*

      I’m about one degree off of your background and pandemic style in every way and have had the same experience. My temporary office used to be my son’s bedroom and I got several positive comments on the cartoony pirate decor the first few months. Most people in our department have quit using virtual backgrounds now but when I do, my favorite is a picture of my cubicle at work, just for the irony.

      1. I'm that guy*

        I like that. I’m going to see if I have any pictures of my cube to use as my background for Teams meetings.

        1. lilsheba*

          I have no cube to take pics of, I started the job I have working from home and am going to stay that way permanently!

  31. Bear Shark*

    When my kids were babies, we had little socks for them that were printed to look like shoes. I hope someone makes these for adults.

    That or I’d start wearing my most ridiculously inappropriate for the office shoes. Monday I’m wearing glitter jelly sandals, Tuesday furry Crocs, Wednesday clear plastic platform heels…

    1. Seeking Second Childhood*

      That sent me to the web. Plenty of socks printed to look like sneakers/trainers, and then pinterest pics for one done as 1950s men’s shoes, one as punky lace-up boots, and then Kate Spade Trompe l’oeil socks with Mary Janes…perfect, but from 2015.
      Now I have silly craft ideas oh dear.

    1. I'm that guy*

      It’s not a joke, a lot of people posted about that on the first two blog entries about company #1.

    2. nm*

      I know exactly what you mean. Especially in my part of the US which is *incredibly* muddy, there is no such thing as clean shoes that I could wear indoors.
      Luckily my organization is being very reasonable about this whole situation.

    3. Three Flowers*

      Yep, and against people from many Islamic countries (to an extent that it might be seen as religious discrimination, depending on whether a Muslim person interprets it as a cultural or religious custom).

    4. Name (Required)*

      Which “Asians” would have be? In Thailand it is deemed offensive to show the soles of your feet to another, as is putting feet on a desk/table, or above another person’s head.

      So you have ‘cultural sensitivities’ that are in opposition with each other. Yes, the command to wear/show shoes on a video call is ridiculous, but it’s no more so than twisting yourself around cultural sensitivities.

      And yes people will be upset, one way or another, however in the grander scheme of things it’s trivial in its triviality. Let’s drop the whole Oh-no-someone-might-be-offended knee-jerk reaction to everything.

      1. allathian*

        It’s an invasion of privacy at best. Unless it’s checked, nobody knows what you’re wearing on your feet at home, and it’s none of their business.

        Quite honestly, I hope as many people as possible leave this company as soon as they can, and state the ridiculous WFH rules as the reason.

  32. Khatul Madame*

    But how does Company 1 check adherence to grooming standards outside of the dress code? I mean, one can be nicely suited up (and down) and not showered for days… or be wearing wear yesterday’s socks… or reek of weed…
    The possibilities are endless!

  33. Silvermoonlight*

    I hope the commenter who shared the awful memo for company #1 shares the link to this page with her friend, and her friend can use it as ammo to point out/embarrass the company for its tone deaf and ridiculous demands. There’s nothing like public shaming to get power-tripping sociopaths to cut it out.

  34. staceyizme*

    It would be so interesting to study each organization and see how their values play out in terms of staff retention, productivity and corporate growth in quantitative terms! One of these companies may be paying a consultant a huge retainer to do just such an assessment and make recommendations for needed change. Which it will then proceed to ignore. Or adapt in name only, kind of as window dressing instead of as substantive change.

  35. PSB*

    My workplace, which has been absolutely insane about a lot of things the last few years, has been great about this. Not only does nobody try to enforce the office dress code while we’re all WFH, it’s gradually become normal to see senior managers on Teams calls in t-shirts and very occasionally baseball caps. I work in shorts, t-shirts, and socks every day, and could probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve worn long pants of any kind since March.

    Early on, we were asked to send in pictures of where we were working for a slideshow during a town hall meeting. I was using a cheap door from Lowe’s on top of some file boxes at the time. We had people making do with everything imaginable and nobody cared as long as the work was done. My department supports clinical IT systems for a large teaching & research medical center. If trying to “maintain standards” would have been understandable from any employer right now, it would be mine. But they’ve amazed me, complete control freaks they usually are, by letting go of things that really don’t matter.

    1. ThursdaysGeek*

      My boss was wearing a baseball cap after he said his wife cut his hair. But often, we just leave the cameras off.

  36. Evelyn*

    Aside from the basic intrusiveness and the cultural insensitivity of the shoe check, it seems like a massive waste of everyone’s time! Skip the shoe check, make the meeting shorter, increase everyone’s productivity, even if they’re barefoot.

    1. Empress Matilda (formerly Matilda Jefferies)*

      I once worked for a bookstore that had a nine – NINE! – page dress code.

      It didn’t specifically say “female employees must wear bras,” but it did specifically say “all employees must wear appropriate undergarments.” I think it had something to do with the possibility of a small amount of “undergarment” showing when we were stretching up or bending down to put books away?

      Fortunately, the owner (who wrote the dress code) was rarely in the store, and the managers were much more reasonable about enforcing it. We did have lots of amusing conversations about what “inappropriate undergarments” might look like, though!

      1. Pay No Attention To The Man Behind The Curtain*

        I worked an on-campus custodial job in college and one guy on our crew liked to wear the ripped jeans look that was very fashionable at the time, and it was fine for an on-campus custodial job…only he also liked to go commando which led to the supervisor having to tell him he needed to either wear appropriate undergarments or jeans with no holes anywhere near the crotch/ass region. I don’t care if I caught a glimpse of his tighty-whities while he was bent over, but I certainly didn’t need to see his balls.

        Back to the present, a coworker (woman in her 50s) was recently in a Zoom meeting and the director needed to have a conversation with her privately that it was very obvious that she wasn’t wearing a bra. So if you’re wearing a t-shirt sans bra, make sure the top is 100% opaque in all lighting… outer-garments need to cover everything adequately, the same as would be expected in the office.

      2. SarahKay*

        Many years ago when I was working in a restaurant we had a temp waitress show up in the required white shirt and black skirt – and wearing a black peep-hole bra. The shirt was of thin enough fabric that you really couldn’t not see rather more than was appropriate for a family restaurant.
        Everyone working spent that shift very carefully never looking below face level and she was not asked to cover any further shifts.
        That, I think, might qualify as “inappropriate undergarments”.

      3. Jennifer Juniper*

        For me, “inappropriate undergarments” would be underpants sticking out over pants, bras that are clearly visible through tops, and/or lack of underpants. Nobody wants to see underwear, or worse, buttcrack.

  37. germank106*

    I just started a new job which is mostly remote with a couple of weekly Zoom meetings. I asked about dress code and received the following reply: As long as whatever you’re wearing is clean, everything that needs to be covered is covered and it’s not Pajamas you are good to go. Each meeting starts off with a check about our mental health and general well being and we’ve (virtually) met everyone’s fur babies and little people.
    After being semi retired for almost five years this was a great way of jumping back into the job market. I do think I would have majorly pushed back about a very stringent dress code.

    1. Crk*

      Where I work, I ended up in pj pants in the office last week. I had to be there, but since I live an hour away where it is much warmer and less surrounded by water, and I hadn’t been there for months, I kinda forgot and wore a skirt in. I had flannel pj pants in the car (I sometimes used to crash with a friend and would keep a spare pair of jammies and work clothes in the car), so I threw them on.

      The only person I saw who said anything was the owner of the company, and the comment was that they were cute, and that everyone else gets to so why not?

      Caring about mental health and productivity makes so much more sense right now than caring about a dress code.

  38. SchuylerSeestra*

    The top companies is completely ridiculous. They need to chill. However I do think there is something to having some sort of work from home guidelines in place? Especially around video call etiquette. I do not believe cameras should be on. I understand that distractions happen. I understand background noises happen. But I also think we owe it to each other to be respectful of each other’s time and boundaries. Figure solutions that help everyone. Whether it’s asking folks to use headphones, stay on silent during calls unless speaking, try to keep interruptions to a minimum, whatever. It’s hard to continuously give grace to others when the same considerations aren’t extended to you.

  39. Madeleine Matilda*

    What are those companies in the first example thinking?????? Even my boss who used to wear suits to the office every day now appears on video in casual clothes. The company demanding people move is the most outrageous thing I’ve heard for those able to work from home.

    1. irene adler*

      I want to ask the managers of company 1 what they hope to accomplish with such directives.
      Boost morale? Increase productivity? Foment team spirit?

      Not how any of these things are accomplished.

      1. Dancing Otter*

        Well, if you define team spirit in terms of unity – I’d guess those employees are really united in hatred for TPTB.

  40. nm*

    I’ll wear shoes indoors when my office gives me a stipend for professional carpet cleaners.
    Fortunately my supervisor has been very practical and reasonable about what our spaces/mental health will allow during wfh.

  41. Jam Today*

    The company with the shoe check is going to find themselves on the losing end of a discrimination lawsuit if (when) the shoes/no shoes thing falls along cultural/ethnic lines.

  42. Jam Today*

    I read a comment on Twitter that some companies are requiring (and paying for, to their minimal credit) ergonomic setups for their employees due to mitigate stress injury from suboptimal works setups. While I appreciate the macro sentiment, some folks — like me — live in tiny city apartments and literally do not have the space for even a second monitor never mind a whole ergonomic chair/desk/docking station, etc. What is the plan for people like us? Fire us for noncompliance? Require we move, like the second company?

  43. He's just this guy, you know?*

    “her staff need to have workspaces that have dedicated offices and if they don’t have them in their current residences they are supposed to find somewhere else to live”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, OMG! I would be looking for somewhere else, all right – somewhere else to work!

  44. Mx*

    I share a house with flatmates and we have a rule of not wearing shoes in the house !
    In some cultures, wearing shoes indoors is totally inappropriate. You can’t force employees to wear shoes in their own homes !

  45. Buy me a house!*

    If I’m required to move for my job they better be compensating me. Heck pay the down payment!

  46. mgguy*

    I have one meeting a month where one of the presenters always says “Alright, everyone stand up and let’s make sure you’re wearing pants!” but then laughs and says “No, not really.” It’s a bit annoying now, but it was funny at first and at least she’s not actually serious. I do always have them on, and I wouldn’t have on pajamas or sweatpants on a video call(audio, who cares) but if it’s jeans or shorts or other stuff we’re technically not supposed to wear in the office, so be it.

    As for shoes at home-forget it. I don’t have any cultural or religious objection, but just find shoes uncomfortable in general and will ditch them inside. Socks, yes, especially because my feet are often cold no matter the time of year(on days that I don’t leave the house, I’ll put on socks when I first get up in the morning). I don’t like tracking in stuff from outside. We now have laminate floor, which is pretty durable and easy to clean, but the other side of it is it shows every spec of dirt. My shoes are right by the front door, since that’s usually where I enter and leave, and have a pair next to the door to the garage for quick trips out there. I’ll only wear my good ones through the house if I’m leaving through the garage. Other than that, it has to be a pretty unusual situation-I was in the back corner of the kitchen the other day, for example, and my wife dropped and broke a glass bowl. She brought me a pair of shoes to wear to get out of the “mine field” and also clean up, and it was a day or two before I’d walk into the kitchen without shoes on, but there again an exception.

    On the office space-right now we’re in a 1 bedroom house. Well, technically it’s 3 bedrooms, but the other two are tiny and built into the eaves of the house such that I can’t even stand up much off center, much less actually set up a desk there. They also poor lighting, are very hot or cold depending on the season(easily 85º in the summer with the downstairs 70º, and about 60º in the winter with the thermostat set the same) and several other things that would make them unsuitable for an office, plus limited electric service that keeps me from fixing the temperature problem. My kitchen table works fine now.

    Yes, we are shopping for something bigger, and the target size is 3-4 bedrooms(or subtract one and have a room I can use as an office. We are in a financial position to do that now, but we are fortunate and not everyone is(nor would either of us be able to buy a house that size in this area on our salaries alone). Still, though, we haven’t found “the right house”, and we’re not going to commit $200K+ plus the expense of moving on a place where we’re going to be miserable. Even if the perfect one at the right price appeared on the market today, we’d have to list ours and sell it, and even with all the pieces falling into place it’s realistically going to be 2 months or better before we could be relocated.

    BTW, throwing all of that aside, let’s say I did want to set up a home office. A lot of desks, chairs and other necessities are on serious backorder now since everyone else needs them too. So, expecting to turn around into a “real” home office even if you have the(unused) space doesn’t happen overnight either.

  47. Toaster_strudel*

    Oh yeah that’s easy! Just move! So in that case, I guess your employer should take on all the fees to do so. They should be paying for any fees associated with breaking your lease early as well as moving costs and if you can’t find a place to live within your budget that has an extra bedroom then they’ll need to up your salary to accommodate that as well. These people who mandate this don’t live in the real world.

  48. overcaffeinatedandqueer*

    I’ll just be praying my relatives’ dog doesn’t bark while I’m working (going down in the middle of November for Thanksgiving, so I have a change of scene- to the coast!- and can be dead sure I am not sick before the holiday comes.

    Rosie is very sweet but she barks at the mail truck, at cars coming in the cul de sac, at other dogs, kids, bikes…There is a porch wrapping three sides of the house. If it is there, she sees and barks!

  49. nnn*

    I wonder if the employer requiring a dedicated workspace provides their employees with a dedicated office in the workplace, or if, like many employers recently, they’ve trended to open-concept hot-desking?

    I know that my makeshift set-up in the middle of my small apartment, jammed between the TV and the kitchen sink, certainly offers me more of the quiet and privacy I need to do my work than our open-concept office does!

  50. Dezzi*

    After reading the news today, I’m reconsidering my opinions on “pants checks.” Like, I know we all joke about not wearing pants on video calls, but apparently some dudes literally need reminders to make sure they don’t, erm, accidentally show things during their meetings with the New Yorker and NPR?

    1. I'm just here for the cats*

      I can see it in a funny moment. Hey everyone, When it’s your turn to present to the group remember to wear pants. HAHA! But a literal Pants & shoes check is stupid and childish.

      1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

        yeah. I mean we had inspections at school (make-up, heels no higher than 2 and a quarter inches, tie tied properly with at least 5 white stripes beneath the knot) but that was school! and I’ve diligently avoided any job requiring a uniform ever since because it was so unbearable. I was known as the crazy woman in slippers at head office, and nobody minded because I was the most productive worker there.

  51. Camellia*

    I would be inclined to take my dress shoes and put them up on my desk, in full view of the camera, and leave them there so they can see that I have them.

  52. I'm just here for the cats*

    Is there a worst company of the year award? If not there should be and that first company gets the award.
    SOOO many questions for this first company.
    Do they count slippers as shoes? Because guess what, with my family’s allergies we don’t wear shoes in the house, and unless their slippers we don’t have “house shoes”. What about someone whose culture it is that you don’t wear shoes in the home, such as Japanese. Would house shoes or slippers work? Or do they expect someone to wear dress shoes/ heels. Guess what, I’m wearing a lot more maxi dresses and pants that look like dress pants but are really sweats!
    MOVE! because the employees are temporarily WFH? Does a bedroom with a desk qualify as a designated office?
    Are they going to permanently increase my salary in order to move? Pay for moving costs, cost to break my lease, and deposits for a new place? Probably not. Guess what then you can fire me.

    1. Anna*

      I don’t know if the story is detailed enough to qualify, but whomever instituted the shoe check rule is in my personal running for Worst Boss of 2020. Probably not going to win, given everything else going on on this site. But whoever you are, shoe check rule person, you are on my short list.

    2. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      When I had a back injury three years ago, complete with sciatic pain all the way down my leg, I wore slipper socks around the office every day until I got better. They were fuzzy on the inside and looked like low ankle knit socks on the outside. Wearing shoes for more than 30 minutes at a time was really painful for me at the time. So I bought a pair of boots that I could easily slip into, and would wear them on my commute (it was winter) and then change into the slipper socks as soon as I came in. I am positive that everyone (including the management) saw me walking around the office and attending meetings in my slipper socks. No one said a thing to me ever. And that was in the office, not at home. If my employer could keep their mouth shut about this in an office setting, it certainly can be done in a WFH situation. Shoe checks at home! smh

  53. Not Infosec*

    Alison, as someone who works for the second company (but isn’t that commenter)… you cut out the muppets thing! That was ESSENTIAL to this post! :P

  54. booksbooksmorebooks*

    Ooof. We didn’t even wear shoes in the office at my work! No one was looking at our feet on zoom before, why on earth would you start now in a pandemic.

    (We’re in a hundreds-of-years-old building with original floors that are a little fragile, no public-facing access, and all our clients are remote and international, so local drop ins were rare and planned well in advance. We were all presentable from the waist up for zoom, but we also all wore slippers in the office to preserve the floors, the fuzzier and more colorful the better!)

    1. RebelwithMouseyHair*

      that sounds so lovely! I’ve always worn slippers in the office, since we never had unannounced visitors, and the idea of preserving an ancient floor really appeals to me. I imagine you working in a beautiful old stately home… would you need a translator by any chance?

  55. ThursdaysGeek*

    Our company has worked up a work from home procedure, and it also requires a dedicated working space. However, that’s for when we’re allowed to go back into the office. If you want to continue working from home THEN, then you’ll need an appropriate place in your home. Until then, they’re glad we’re able to make it work, however we make it work.

    1. WellRed*

      I’d love to know the reasoning for this. It’s been working fine, but once some people go back to office it impacts wfh home setups exactly how?

      1. Evan Þ.*

        My guess is they’re thinking it’s not working great now, but they’re willing to live with it while there’s no practicable better option.

        Whether they have any reason to think that is another question.

  56. crejitad*

    I haven’t worn a bra or shoes in months except when running out for errands/groceries. I really wonder about companies that value the appearance of professionalism & engagement vs. the actual results of professionalism & engagement.

    1. Dezzi*

      I mean, I think we saw on the news today how important it is to make sure people are wearing pants…

    2. Solar*

      Bras shouldn’t even be required at work. If women want to wear them for our comfort (I do), cool. But I should feel free to go without.

      I don’t wear a bra on zoom calls. The camera isn’t angled down enough to really pick up on it anyway, and even if it were… meh.

  57. Sarcasm is my favorite way to go*

    Does a refrigerator box or a blanket fort count as “dedicated workspace”?

  58. RebelwithMouseyHair*

    With our Middle East connections, we do not wear shoes indoors. Visitors are reminded of this as they see a heap of shoes that they have to hop over to get in. It’s the single most effective way of reducing the need to clean the floor indoors. I won’t say you can eat off the floor like you could in my mother’s house, it’s more a matter of me being able to spend time doing other stuff than incessant cleaning. If I had a boss, she wouldn’t get to tell me to make my floor dirty.
    Every time you think firms can’t get more ridiculous, they more than rise to the challenge!

  59. Alica*

    I mean, I actually do live in a 3 bed house by myself (there are reasons, it was planned). The smallest bedroom even has a desk in. My setup the entire time I’ve been WFH is in the living room. I’m on the sofa with my laptop, extra screen plugged in on a table, using a lap tray beside me as a mousemat. I work so much better in comfy surroundings with blankets and a sleeping kitty.
    Our bosses have never even voiced the idea of us needing to turn cameras on. The only time I’ve turned mine on for work in the past 6 months was a call with my boss, and only because he wanted to see my new kitty cat. And the minute I step into my house it’s shoes off, slippers on!

  60. PeriPeriwinkle*

    A few friends who are still in high school told me that teachers are also doing the shoe/pants check with students who are studying from home as well. Absolutely appalling.

  61. rnr*

    Wow, that first one is insane. I’ve been able to avoid getting on video at work for the most part, which is good, because my WFH setup is… not traditional. I live in my van that’s been converted to an RV (long story; it’s by choice) and I have not mentioned this fact at work because of the stigma associated with this. I’m actually able to create a great and comfortable working space, but it’s not definitely not a dedicated space. Besides, it gets pretty warm in summer so I was mostly wearing tank tops and shorts. This makes me so glad that my work is reasonable about this stuff!

  62. Penny*

    Prior to the pandemic, my company launched WFH 2 days a week (later on a 3rd day was added) and we had to sign contracts that we wouldn’t have children unattended in the home unless it was an emergency and we wouldn’t have noise distractions in the background. They actually specified things like grandfather clocks should be silenced or in another part of the home. This was all done out of the fear that a customer would hear a dog bark in the background and complain. I laugh now because last week, I had a conference call with a customer who I didn’t realize was on the US west coast. She had to stop and apologize because she was still in bed (it was 6:30 AM there) and her cat was trying to sit on her head. The cat was very loudly purring and her voice kept getting muffled. In my fairly conservative industry, people have just stopped caring about a lot of the old professional rules. I just wonder if we will ever get back to them

  63. Frenchie too*

    Geez Louise! Seriously? You’re supposed to move if you don’t already have a dedicated workspace? And you have to be dress code compliant from head to toe, even though you are only on camera from the shoulders up?
    I would love to hear that they had a mass exodus of employees, and that they all found more decent employers. Sadly, the current job market most likely won’t allow this.
    Maybe a group of you can leave and become direct competitors to these clowns.

Comments are closed.