Summertime in Protocol

by Thomas Sladko* 

Fulfilling the dress code is hard in these hot summer days for Protocol professionals.  In many other professions everybody would understand that above 35 degrees Celsius men can wear short sleeve shirts, are not obliged to use a properly tied tie, dress white, wear jeans or even shorts, etc. Not so in Protocol! In our profession many of these reliefs are impossible to even think about. Well, we do not have to wear a “Stresemann” during a non-representative week when no reception or State Visit is scheduled – but a proper appearance is necessary on every working day anyway how the weather might be.

What makes work in the office even harder in the current hot summer days are the circumstances that many historical European buildings do not have air condition installed (due to monument protection) or the interesting point, that some people have serious prejudices against the refreshing cooling air. People sometimes think they could catch a flu or the condition is too loud.  While in countries like Brazil or the USA cooling down a room to frosty 20 degrees is common the whole year, in most central European countries we quasi just turn off the heater during a couple of weeks. This philosophy makes the installation of an air condition in many minds a waste of money and people somehow survive the desert heat. In other words: a brand actual cross-cultural example.

Practical tips to face temperatures above 35 degrees in a business suit or dressed “black tie” are to dress only in clothes and shoes made of 100% natural material and avoid to stress. In former times the imperators and royals went to summer resorts like “Schönbrunn” or to areas with a cooler micro climate. Today the rich and famous do nearly the same when they spend the hottest weeks of the year at mountain resorts.

The best advice would be anyway to take these days off and spend the day- and nighttime at places where no rigid dress codes apply. Have a nice summer and stay cool!

*About the author

Thomas Sladko is the Deputy Chief of  Protocol at the Federal Chancellery of Austria and ISPD lecturer. 

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