I truck my leather Brooks Brothers briefcase to and from the office and I know the MT guidance going back a decade+ is that backpacks (nice ones) are no-go. But often, I have a coffee in hand, sometimes carrying my lunch, plus the briefcase and open doors, climb stairs. A backpack would be much easier. I don't work at a Fortune 100 or anything. I am the highest IT professional for my organization. I never wear a suit to work (usually button-up and chinos/trousers) and occasionally wear a blazer. Has guidance changed in 2020? One thing I saw as a "sign" is Hartmann doesn't even sell briefcases anymore on their website. But they do sell some sweet backpacks! Check these out:

What do you use?

jrb3's picture

If you're top guy, others will emulate you.  This is a great opportunity to ask advice of your boss, his peers, and up the chain a little.  Is there a particular image/attitude the organization wants to reinforce?  Does briefcase versus backpack affect how this is seen?

For myself, I'm technical at a startup, so backpack is definitely the way for me to go right now.  Earlier in my career, at large companies, I was always low enough in the hierarchy (individual contributor or small-team lead, no management responsibility) that it didn't matter which we chose.  I did briefcase then roller-bag for awhile, then messenger-bag, then backpack -- sometimes alternating or even a few at once.  Had one boss who preferred us using briefcases for site visits to clients, where that better reassured some of their higher-ups.  I loved the backpack when I wanted to encourage a more informal and fluid environment, briefcase to tighten things up.

The times I've gone with briefcases, I altered my rhythms to suit.  Grabbed my tea only after setting briefcase down in my office, for instance, which encouraged chatting with my mind firmly in "work" mode not "commute" mode.