Separating Professionalism from Formalism
Tom Goodman
91

Work with the person not the suit.

Tom has this right down to a T here. But I wanted to comment on professionalism and formalism in the workplace.

Informal working environments are something that’s got more and more common with the rise of startup culture. In a world where people wear whatever they like to work, hangout in agile offices with sofas and have a weekly game night with the whole team, including the boss.

Some people might see this as being an un-professional working environment. But it isnt.

People there are still just as professional. They conduct them selves with a professional attitude towards both each other and their work. If anything, they can be more professional in this environment due to being relaxed and comfortable.
In stark comparison to a traditional office environment where everyone is in business attire and talks formally to everyone, especially their boss.
In a traditional office there is a huge difference in the way you might communicate with the managers a few levels above you and the people in your team.
There is less office banter, no silly chat bots in the team communication system.

A formal working environment is less human.

I believe this is because in traditional working environments people work see only what they’re told to see. They see status and attire instead of seeing the employee for who they actually are.
In a traditional environment you work less with the people, and more with what their job title is.

Whats changed recently is that people have realised that when people are comfortable and just being themselves and working in a happy, relaxed environment, they perform better.
And this leads to a culture where instead of being formal and professional, people learn to appreciate their colleagues for what they’re good at and what their job is rather than being forced to distance themselves from those on higher pay grades.

An informal professional environment fosters human interaction, friendship and happiness rather that stiff communications, isolation and a boring work day.

At the end of the day, we’re all humans just doing the job we’re doing. We all deserve to get respected and judged on our skills and behaviour rather than on prejudged based on our age, attire and perceived experience.
I don’t like getting judged because people perceive me as a young, inexperienced kid who knows little about what they’re doing (Thats not even counting being a transgirl too).
I’m sure managers would have a better life if they were treated as part of the team and talked too on the same respectful, fun and comfortable way as other employees too.