We’re having enough controversy with RL dress codes after a motion to the TUC’s conference called on employers to stop mandating their female staff to wear high heels, even if it might cause them health concerns. But it seems that could be pretty tame now compared to virtual world avatar dress codes!
IT analysts Gartner have predicted (on what evidence I’m not entirely sure) that by 2013, 70% of employers will have dress codes for their staff when in avatar form. This does sound pretty likely I guess. People want to make their avatars into extensions of themselves – possibly as augmentations or fantasies based around their self-image and feelings. As people start to work more and more in virtual worlds, issues of how they represent their (possibly squeamish) employer with clients are likely to arise.
I remember several tech firms making people turn down more unusual avatars whilst at work years ago, but there are going to be issues when people feel comfortable online in a certain way, potentially happier, liberated and more natural – will the company that insists on a grey suit and flexi-prim tie be helping employees feel as confident and connected to their work as they might by giving their employees the leeway?
Have you been told to take off the spacesuit in meetings, keep the Gor gear to the back office, or even just to turn down the bling on your Blackberry?