One of my favourite books has a quote “Man’s greatest enemy is his fellow man, because only men take pleasure in inflicting pain”.
I always think of this when I take trains in Tokyo. A lot of the work in such modern cities is people working on their computers - what is the need to mandate people to come to a fixed place at 9 AM every day. People could come to work later or earlier or work from home a cafe. Most meetings too, could be online; they will be more efficient that way. I know that everyone cannot workd from home and some occupations requires one to be at a physical venue . But even if 20 to 30% of us could avoid peak hours or work from home, it would improve the commute for everyone else .
We have also “stood on ceremony” for a long time. I could never fathom why in South East Asia, people have to wear uncomfortable clothes for work and then run the airconditioner to frigid levels. People tell me about status. They also say that often we dress to show respect to the person we are meeting. I would argue that if the person you are meeting is going to be so judgemental about what you wear then perhaps you should skip meeting them. Yes, clothes are essenstial and they reflect our personality but I think they can be comfortable and still classy. We shold not expect people who take a crowded train to work and the ones who drive to dress the same.