Fashion magazines always suggest 'city shorts' as a viable workwear option. Maybe if you work in London, at a fashion magazine, but in the Cotswolds, at an environmental firm? Nat so mach.
I bought some smart linen shorts during my Matalan spree at the weekend (the dresses fit me! Generous bust but slim hips! REVELATION!) but I think they're more suited to a night out than a day at work. I'd pair them with heels and a long-sleeved blouse, tucked in loosely.
They cost £14, are made from a linen/viscose mix and have a zip at the side to undo them; aka no faffing about with all those buttons.