I just finished reading this article on the BBC regarding the encroachment of personal lives on the workplace. The article focuses on eating breakfast at work as something of an amusing illustration but it has a valid wider point:
Differences in what we wear and how we behave at home and work have been steadily eroded. We may still be marginally smarter and more polite in the office, but it's a matter of degree. Crying and shouting are both deemed perfectly acceptable, as are jeans and flip-flops.
While the article pokes us for what we might consider to be inappropriate behaviour I think it might be a positive reflection on society as a whole and a healthy outlook on our approach to our personal and public lives.
We tend to see far more frank and honest pictures of each other in the last few years than we ever had before. The highs and lows of our lives tend to play out more publically via social networks and the ever-present communication devices we each now carry around in our pockets. There was a time not so long ago where we had much stricted control over the faces we displayed to colleagues and the faces we displayed to personal friends. It was once unthinkable that your boss might see photos of you stumbling home merrily from a night on the tiles but these days many people can log onto facebook the next day and compare notes.
So it could be that this more open view of each other has begun to prove to us that we're all a lot more similar than we might have thought, and that we all have the same types of personas that we employ according to what is appropriate for a given situation. One of the casualties might be the straight-laced work-face. If we're comfortable with the non-glamourous minutiae of the people we work with then is it a surprise when these details of life begin to creep into the workplace. Home life and work life merging a little bit into a happy compromise. It could be good for us, are we less likely to suffer stress if we feel we can afford to display our weaknesses, if being at work feels like being around friends? If we're comfortable and happy will we perform better?
I certainly think it's possible.