Monday, October 30, 2017

European and American Work Style

Typical American Work Outfit
Something that is so interesting to me is work style. Working in manufacturing, we tend to dress to get dirty and not to look so nice. Here in Bruneck, the culture is a bit different and yet the same as the US plants I know and love. In the US, I posted about this before but I tend to dress casual in my day to day life and dress up a bit when we have a customer or visitors in the plant. I go with dressy bottoms and casual tops with the option to throw on a company branded cardigan or button-down if a surprise visitor comes to the plant. Here in Europe, there are three distinct differences from America when it comes to work style.

1. People will wear the same clothes two or three times in a week.

The first time that I saw this, I was surprised. A man who I worked with wore the same outfit two days in a row. At first, I thought maybe he doesn't have a lot of work clothing or he didn't have time to do laundry for the week. One of my friends here informed me that it is nice to wear the same clothes if they are not sweaty because it is more environmentally friendly and laundry here is expensive. Another coworker informed me that for clothing that you wear to work, it is better to buy something high quality and wear it a lot than to buy something low quality and have to replace it more often. If I buy three really nice work outfits for the season that can be mixed and matched, this is much better than to buy 5 or 6 low quality outfits.

2. People tend to dress very casual unless there is a customer or a big meeting.

It is very common to see guys wearing t-shirts and jeans with sneakers to work. The women tend to wear blouses, jeans, and cute shoes. One thing I like about the casual clothing style here is that it fits everyone very well - the pants are the perfect length, t-shirts are wrinkle free and fitted, and the shoes are in very good condition.  If there is a customer in, the men tend to wear a button-down shirt, nice tailored pants, and nice shoes with a matching belt. The women tend to wear skirts or something similar to the men. Overall, it's very fashionable.

3. Individual style is appreciated.

One thing that I love about here is that you wear what you want and no one is really judging you for your outfit. For example, some of the women and I are wearing skirts though we go on the floor. I have some nice steel-toed loafers that go with many of my dress and even if it is different for people, they say nothing about it in a negative way. In the US, I would never wear a skirt on the floor because people would be judging me in some way. It is also nice for the men - for example, the shipping manager always wears all black and everyone embraces his style with open arms.

Overall, I love how they dress in our company's typical manufacturing setting more in this plant than in the US. I plan to take all of these cool style practices and slowly implement them into the plants in the US. I truly believe that when you can dress in a way that makes you happy, you are much more productive at work and in a much better mood!

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