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#WFH Do I Wear a White Shirt?

There was a time not all that long ago that if you worked for IBM, you wore a white shirt. Not a pink shirt or a blue shirt, but a white shirt. It was a symbol of what was important: formality, establishment and detached professionalism. How quickly the world changed! We feel closer and more connected to the world around us via a variety of devices and gadgets. In contrast, we may not see another human being for extended periods of time. Now we are talking about wearing pajamas to work. That, too, is a symbol – of openness, freedom and relaxed proficiency. Knowing how to dress gave us a set of expectations. We expected ourselves to behave in certain ways when we put on the white shirt and we were expected to be able to elicit certain behaviors from others. IBM required that white shirt for a reason. Our priorities as individuals and as a global culture have changed. We live in a world where knowledge is everything. Ratings and postings have replaced hierarchies and structure.

Unknowingly, we gave away more than our symbols. We gave apps, websites and vendors the rights to stalk us, analyze us and interrupt us. We allowed the level of connection to increase and, with it, came an unprecedented increase in the noise in our lives. We convince ourselves that all this noise is necessary and that our privacy is secondary. Like Pavlov’s dogs salivating, we check our email, posts and messages as soon as we hear the beep. We are obsessed with knowing. We want more information. We want to share because we want reassurance. We want feedback. We want to know that we are accepted, valued or even just OK. We are in danger or becoming addicted to our egos, our devices and to ourselves (Heffernan, 2011).

We gave away one of the greatest benefits of the industrial age, leisure time. In the agrarian age, no one had leisure time except the nobles, landholders and the elite. The industrial age gave us white shirts and vacation. It gave us the 9-to-5 workweek, instead of dawn-until-dusk. All this connectivity has taken away our ability to disengage. We feel we have to fill every minute with mental stimulus.

Using this new digital culture to our advantage means becoming comfortable from the inside out.
Aligning connections is about connecting on your terms, with your priorities and your responsibilities, so that you can get things done that are beneficial to you. This is not about egotism or self-esteem. It is about self-reliance and self-efficacy. It is about being able to believe in and act on your abilities, competencies and the right to be happy and thrive. Aligning connections puts you in charge of your destiny. You don’t have to play a part and you don’t have to wear a white shirt. You get to choose how much you are connected or how little, based on what you want to accomplish.

Aligning connections starts with an awareness of what you are doing. How are you connecting in the world of endless connections and what results are you achieving? If you are not connecting in a way that is beneficial to you, you get to fix that, change it and create connections that support your priorities. In a world where it is possible to be connected to the global Internet 24/7/365, you want to line up connectivity with productivity. This allows you to optimize your time, your talents and your involvement by supporting your intentions. Aligning connections is being challenged daily by new pulls, new technologies, and new ways to get noticed. Today it is one new technology; tomorrow it will be something else. Certainly, we are not going back to the cubicle and we are not going back to white shirts.

#WFH, #RemoteWorkplace, #RemoteWorker, #WorkFromHome, #BobbeGB, #BobbeBaggio, #ThePajamaEffect, #Touchpoints, #Virtual Workplace, #Virtual Worker #PJEffect