In recent times there has been a push for body acceptance, and makeup has been a big part of the discussion. Some women love wearing makeup, and others don't. So while you should always be making the best decisions for yourself, there is something else going on here. How is your makeup being perceived in the workplace? Is it helping you get ahead, or is it holding you back?

In a 2016 study by Jaclyn S. Wong and Andrew M. Penner published in Research in Social Stratification and Mobility looked at how attractiveness affected income. Their findings confirmed long held beliefs that attractive people, they just make more money. In fact they found that an attractive individual can earn roughly 20% more than an average attractive person. However, makeup has to be added into that equation and the study accounted for 'grooming'. They found that beauty can be 'actively cultivated' which means, yes wearing makeup can help you be seen as more attractive and therefore your salary can reflect that.

Does this mean that men should take 'grooming' into account, yes actually. It helps the overall perception of attractiveness and competence, but men aren't judged nearly as much on that as their female counterparts are. So yes men should be grooming, but it isn't nearly as important for them as it is for women. Lucky us.

Competent, trustworthy, approachable? What Do You Think?@malvestida

In a different 2016 Dr. Viktoria Mileva and her team looked at the way makeup was perceived across gender lines with their results published in the aptly named journal, Perception. The study was done using computer software generated standardized makeup looks. Volunteers rated these looks according to attractiveness, dominance, and prestige. This is a clear example of where we can see the gender divide when it comes to opinions of makeup in the workplace.

Men and women both agreed that the makeup wearing faces were more attractive, but when it came to dominance and prestige the opinions differed. Women rated fellow women as more dominant while men rated them as more prestigious. The researchers found it likely that men don't see women as physical competitors and therefore didn't rank them as dominant. A follow up study found that the women's rankings were more based on jealousy, and they saw the made up women as more promiscuous and attractive to men than the non-makeup wearing counterparts.

Prestigious, in control, untrustworthy? What Do You Think?@malvestida

This leads to an interesting dilemma for women in the workplace. How do you do your makeup, for the men or the women in the office? Is it possible to please both? Should you shift your makeup looks depending on the situation? To look at that, there is even more you need to know about office makeup.

A study by Nancy L. Etcoff and her team, published in 2011 here, studied people's perceptions based on how much makeup a woman was wearing. Offered three looks from bare to heavy makeup the results show how tumultuous the 'Survival of the Prettiest' can be. There is no foolproof makeup look, and it has to change based on the situation. Cosmetics can wildly change people's perception of you from how smart you are, how approachable, how in control, and how competent. Your makeup can make you more attractive, but you could also be perceived as more untrustworthy.

Who would you hire? Figure 1 - Plos

So really, what does it all mean? Well really it's good and it's bad news. It really means that at the end of the day, women are judged on their appearance more than men are. It means to get ahead of a man with equal skills, you have to take your physical appearance into account. It means that makeup can help women be perceived as competent put together people, but with the double edged sword that too much makeup can give you a very different reputation. It means women can use makeup to their advantage while the world uses it as a weapon against them at the exact same time.

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Over two years into the most momentous event in our lives the world has changed forever … Some of us have PTSD from being locked up at home, some are living like everything’s going to end tomorrow, and the rest of us are merely trying to get by. When the pandemic hit we entered a perpetual state of vulnerability, but now we’re supposed to return to normal and just get on with our lives.

What does that mean? Packed bars, concerts, and grocery shopping without a mask feel totally strange. We got used to having more rules over our everyday life, considering if we really had to go out or keeping Zooming from our living rooms in threadbare pajama bottoms.

The work-from-home culture changed it all. Initially, companies were skeptical about letting employees work remotely, automatically assuming work output would fall and so would the quality. To the contrary, since March of 2020 productivity has risen by 47%, which says it all. Employees can work from home and still deliver results.

There are a number of reasons why everyone loves the work from home culture. We gained hours weekly that were wasted on public transport, people saved a ton of money, and could work from anywhere in the world. Then there were the obvious reasons like wearing sweats or loungewear all week long and having your pets close by. Come on, whose cat hasn’t done a tap dance on your keyboard in the middle of that All Hands Call!

Working from home grants the freedom to decorate your ‘office’ any way you want. But then people needed a change of environment. Companies began requesting their employees' RTO, thus generating the Hybrid Work Model — a blend of in-person and virtual work arrangements. Prior to 2020, about 20% of employees worked from home, but in the midst of the pandemic, it exploded to around 70%.

Although the number of people working from home increased and people enjoyed their flexibility, politicians started calling for a harder RTW policy. President Joe Biden urges us with, “It’s time for Americans to get back to work and fill our great downtowns again.”

While Boris Johnson said, “Mother Nature does not like working from home.'' It wasn’t surprising that politicians wanted people back at their desks due to the financial impact of working from the office. According to a report in the BBC, US workers spent between $2,000 - $5,000 each year on transport to work before the pandemic.

That’s where the problem lies. The majority of us stopped planning for public transport, takeaway coffee, and fresh work-appropriate outfits. We must reconsider these things now, and our wallets are paying

the price. Gas costs are at an all-time high, making public transport increase their fees; food and clothes are all on a steep incline. A simple iced latte from Dunkin’ went from $3.70 to $3.99 (which doesn’t seem like much but 2-3 coffees a day with the extra flavors and shots add up to a lot), while sandwiches soared by 14% and salads by 11%.

This contributes to the pressure employees feel about heading into the office. Remote work may have begun as a safety measure, but it’s now a savings measure for employees around the world.

Bloomberg are offering its US staff a $75 daily commuting stipend that they can spend however they want. And other companies are doing the best they can. This still lends credence to ‘the great resignation.’ Initially starting with the retail, food service, and hospitality sectors which were hard hit during the pandemic, it has since spread to other industries. By September 2021, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4.4 million resignations.

That’s where the most critical question lies…work from home, work from the office or stick to this new hybrid world culture?

Borris Johnson thinks, “We need to get back into the habit of getting into the office.” Because his experience of working from home “is you spend an awful lot of time making another cup of coffee and then, you know, getting up, walking very slowly to the fridge, hacking off a small piece of cheese, then walking very slowly back to your laptop and then forgetting what it was you’re doing.”

While New York City Mayor Eric Adams says you “can't stay home in your pajamas all day."

In the end, does it really matter where we work if efficiency and productivity are great? We’ve proven that companies can trust us to achieve the same results — or better! — and on time with this hybrid model. Employees can be more flexible, which boosts satisfaction, improves both productivity and retention, and improves diversity in the workplace because corporations can hire through the US and indeed all over the world.

We’ve seen companies make this work in many ways, through virtual lunches, breakout rooms, paint and prosecco parties, and — the most popular — trivia nights.

As much as we strive for normalcy, the last two years cannot simply be erased. So instead of wiping out this era, it's time to embrace the change and find the right world culture for you.

What would get you into the office? Free lunch? A gym membership? Permission to hang out with your dog? Some employers are trying just that.

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Did you hear about the Great Resignation? It isn’t over. Just over two years of pandemic living, many offices are finally returning to full-time or hybrid experiences. This is causing employees to totally reconsider their positions.

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