Our Lifestyle Panel looks at the dos and don'ts of office attire, the risks and rewards of a little cubicle cuddling plus, the benefits of corporate challenges.

Dress codes and the right to 'bare arms' at work

Former Prime Minister Kim Campbell sparked a heated debate recently when she suggested that female broadcaster should avoid wearing sleeveless dresses on television. In a Tweet, Campbell said she has always found sleeveless dresses to be demeaning for women, particularly when seated next to suited men. And that “bare arms undermine credibility and gravitias.” Most workplaces have some kind of dress code, and from restaurants to office spaces, debate around the rules is ongoing.

Maxine Clarke says this issue is not one about gender, and that men would face the same criticism if they showed up in clothes that were too tight or showing skin. Tyler Waye sees a strong difference between professional standards and imposing one’s own views on what’s appropriate on other people. Wendy Giuffre suggests dress codes are not necessarily, and that it’s enough to expect employees to wear appropriate clothing. She prefers not to impose too much policy on people, and to instead trust their judgement. Ask people to dress for the job and the situation, whether that means suits or jeans.

The risks and rewards of an office romance

We spend a great deal of time at work, so perhaps it should not be a surprise that many people find romance at work.

From random hookups to serious, long-term relationship, the Vault Careers Survey, released in February, found that fifty-two percent of respondents had participated in at least one office romance.

Wendy Giuffre believes that most workplaces do not need a policy around co-worker relationships. The only exception would be a dealing with a relationship between a senior and junior person, where one reports to another.

Tyler Waye would like people to talk about it more! He says there may be a policy, but if you don’t discuss it with your team, they won’t know the rules or how to navigate them. Maxine Clarke suggests focusing on your job first and foremost, and continue to do good work no matter what relationships you build while on the job. And if you do find yourself considering a relationship, be prepared for one person to need to change departments or even leave the organization.

The benefits of corporate challenges

If you’re not looking for love but you would like to build camaraderie with your colleagues, you might want to consider the Corporate Challenge! Edmonton’s annual even is coming up this spring. Corporate Challenge aims to provide an opportunity for businesses to foster employee interaction, morale, pride and health and wellness with events for every fitness level and desire.

Tyler Waye is a fan of Corporate Challenge, and says it really helps feel a need for companies to get outside of their normal routine and do something fun together! Maxine Clarke says aspiring leaders can use this as an opportunity to step up and show their skills. It also allows people to meet others in their organization and perhaps learn more about their company overall.

Wendy Giuffre says it’s important to keep a good mix of activities, and to also invite families to be included as well, since it eats into our leisure time. And she says it’s important to make sure everyone gets involved!

We're joined on our Lifestyle Panel by: Maxine Clarke, organizational development consultant; Tyler Waye, workplace strategist, author and president of IN.FORM, and Wendy Giuffre, president and principal consultant at Wendy Ellen Inc.