Work avatars should have 'virtual dress codes'

The way you dress your avatar in an online world could soon be called into question, if new research from Gartner is correct.

Gartner has been looking into the weird and wonderful world of avatars and believes that when they are used in a work environment, they should dress appropriately.

"As the use of virtual environments for business purposes grows, enterprises need to understand how employees are using avatars in ways that might affect the enterprise or the enterprise's reputation," explained James Lundy, Managing Vice President at Gartner.

"We advise establishing codes of behavior that apply in any circumstance when an employee is acting as a company representative, whether in a real or virtual environment. Addendums, specific to virtual environments can be added as required."

Six-step process

So, if you're avatar happens to have the sartorial style of a hairy biker, even though your work asks for you to turn up in a shirt and tie, then watch out!

To make sure that your avatar is behaving appropriately in the online world, the research firm has handily created a six-step process to make sure your avatar isn't causing offence in the workplace.

These include: extending the workplace code of conduct to virtual worlds; educating employees on the risks of reputation management; and exploring the business case for avatars.

Suddenly the idea of owning an avatar has just got very un-cool. A bit like the time you had to violently delete your entire MP3 collection after you caught your dad singing the latest Dizzee Rascal track.