Crocs in the workplace?
Irrefutably, the novel coronavirus pandemic has caused a lot of shifts in mindset and operations in our educational system and corporate sectors.
Ever since the return of in-person classes to the universities and on-site work at business places, there has been an upsurge in the number of people who wear Crocs sandals to classes and work. Although many Jamaicans refer to the footwear as “Crocs”, it is important to establish that Crocs is actually a brand, similar to Clarks, Adidas, and Nike.
More and more, as I commute and enter university campuses, I notice students sporting the Crocs sandals. I then have flashbacks to my college days when our feet had to be entirely covered during business hours. Given the relaxed nature of universities (not teachers’ colleges), I often ponder to myself if I could sport a pair of Crocs sandals and a pair of denim shorts to teach my students. But would that be taking it too far? Is it unprofessional?
Similarly, there are many others in the corporate world who question the appropriateness of wearing Crocs sandals to work. Is it professional to do so? Should they only be worn by certain groups, such as doctors and nurses, and in certain relaxed environments, such as a teachers’ staffroom, a media newsroom, or a call centre?
Undoubtedly, being fashionable and trendy plays a vital role in our society. Understandably, Jamaicans were not going to miss out on sandals that are unique, customisable, durable, affordable, and comfortable. They will go as far as justifying the need for relaxed footwear to be able to function optimally at work. It could even be linked to their mental health.
But if we have gradually accepted men wearing suits with sneakers and dress pants without socks, how different is wearing Crocs sandals with professional attire?
It now appears as though all the social norms on which the society was built are now evolving. What was prized as distinguished and admirable is now being deconstructed and reinvented. There is no regard for a sense of occasion. Who is to be blamed? Well, our esteemed media personalities and influencers have contributed to these phenomena.
By the way, if our university students continue to dress as they now do, it is going to be difficult for some to make the transition when they start working.