The barefoot theory

Hoping the signs of summer actually settle for longer than two days (I know, we are still in the middle of spring in the Northern hemisphere), I already have set my mind on wearing flip-flops or sandals as much as possible. The funny detail these days is that one of my clients happens to be in the video gaming industry. The lofty workspace is very welcoming, relaxed and a lot of the team goes around barefoot. Of course, the environment is very safe and favourable to wandering without shoes. Unlike other projects I have worked on where steel-toe shoes, high-visibility vests and hard hats were mandatory, this place is a bliss of freedom.

Tribal en Suisse - Olivier Borgognon Photography

Tribal en Suisse – Olivier Borgognon Photography

There is no particular dress code, and creative minds are definitely encouraged in exploring and expressing their art as much as they want. Given their success as a company, this liberty is paying off. Flexibility often is an HR consideration that many more typical 9-to-5 office environments are still skeptical about. Some are naturally more conservative, and walking barefoot (even with socks on) just does not reflect the professional etiquette some companies want to display. Letting go of some rules seen (and felt) as too uptight to create proves to be a pretty good decision in the productivity department.

Think about your home office (if you have one): comfort comes first, does it not? Reconnecting with our senses through our feet is a cool option. Some running clinics go back to the basics before going for the distance, for scientific and natural reasons. Many theories tend to converge and agree on reconnecting with Mother Nature, through our feet, to recentre our senses and our inner-self. And this is just not a stereotypical West Coast way of thinking. Going barefoot, or with thinner and thinner soles, appears to be creating some very positive effects on both creativity and productivity. No need to live in a tropical climate either.

Some social reasons in our Western societies are hard to let go of. Yet, in many private homes, in a casual setting, shoes stay at the door. Different context, maybe, and the association of ideas between walking barefoot and poverty, eccentricity, hippism or slavery is far from being extinct. Cesaria Evora, Joss Stone and Donavon Frankenreiter, just to name a few, are quite praised and admired for their respective music: famous barefooters can do as they please.

I say: as long as your own choice is respectful and considerate of the people around, why not? It gives an incredible sensation of freedom, and work actually gets done (for the motivated ones, of course). Go out and play, forget your shoes and have fun (even at work)!