Going Barefoot at Work: Yay or Nay? Let’s Discuss.
Once upon a time—this is a true story—I worked in an office with someone who took his shoes off as soon as he got in every morning. He’d spend the entire day padding around barefoot on our office’s hardwood floors and propping his feet up on desks and chairs. For some reason, I found his behavior incredibly disconcerting and weirdly unprofessional—but I didn’t know if I was just being a foot-prude, so I never said anything.
As it turns out, I’m not the only one who finds going barefoot at the office totally strange. According to a recently released survey, “more than 40 percent of people feel offended when colleagues take their shoes off at work.” (Which, I guess, means the other 60 percent are OK with it?)
Fast Company analyzed the burgeoning barefoot trend today—citing prominent professionals and politicians who, in fact, prefer the au naturel feeling of foot on ground. Like the U.K.’s Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, who told the BBC that during the recent heat wave, he coped with soaring temperatures by unsheathing his tootsies.
“If they’re in their offices working hard, as they do, I’m very keen that they shouldn’t overheat,” Clegg said about his staff and summer dress code. “I was padding around in my office without my shoes on yesterday, but obviously in public events when I have to respect the dignity of the office I put my shoes back on.”
Is a heat wave really a good enough reason for everyone to take their shoes off in the office?
At Amanda Levete Architects, employees are instructed to leave their shoes at the door—”It keeps the carpet clean,” Levete told The Guardian. “Also it’s a great leveller, and it’s relaxing: you can put your feet on the sofas.” The reporter who visited also noted that office was “incredibly quiet”—no tap-tap-tapping of stilettos.
What do you think? Do you work in an office where going barefoot is acceptable? How do you feel about it? Do you remember that episode of Sex and the City where Carrie loses her shoes? So many things to consider. Share your thoughts with me in the comments, below! I’m not the only one who thinks this is weird, am I?