It’s becoming more and more common for businesses to adopt a casual dress code. A recent survey suggested that over a third of companies now have no expectations with regards to formal dress from Monday to Friday; with many stating a variety of advantages to the more relaxed policy. Is there any truth in this though, and how much difference does a change in office dress code really make?
One of the key benefits is the increase in employee morale. There is less expectation on the employee to dress well, and less importance is placed on wearing the right suit, for example. The freedom to wear casual clothes also allows for some expression and individuality. By encouraging people to wear what they want, you can demonstrate a commitment to a more creative and resourceful environment.
Quite simply, business suits cost more than casual clothes. This financial commitment is ongoing and can seem a burden to people; particularly when they might not enjoy wearing the clothes in the first place!
Business wear can be uncomfortable, particularly in the summer or in humid conditions. Companies will regularly relax their dress code during the summer months, removing your tie in offices is a common one. There can be unexpected health benefits as well as employees may be more willing to have a walk outside at lunchtime, as what they are wearing is more conducive to being outdoors.
If you want your corporate image to appear as more progressive and modern, this might be an easy thing to implement to help. Major corporations, such as JPMorgan, General Electric and IBM have all recently made a commitment to a more relaxed dress code as part of an effort to attract younger employees. A reduction in traditional business culture is seen as a major advantage. Think of the stories you’ve read with new companies like google having slides in their London offices. A more relaxed atmosphere is almost expected from younger recruits.
If you’re still struggling to decide, then an option might be to implement a dress down Friday as a starting point. This will allow you to see a trial version and assess the impact on a smaller scale.
Let us know in the comments if this is something your business has considered, or has implemented in the past. What were the results? Have you seen any benefits?