It can’t be denied that the businesses are changing the dress code for their employees. At one time, a nine-to-five job was synonymous with a three-piece suit and briefcase. But, now, many companies are happy to let their employees dress in business casual attire or what they feel comfortable in. Is it affecting employee productivity, though?
Dressing casually to work
It’s possible that it is the influence of younger workers in the office that has led to a shift towards business casual. Many people believe the shift to casual wear is a result of a younger It seems as though this age group is more protective over identity and style of dress and are opposed to being told what to wear.
Simply put, business casual is dressing smart but not too over the top. For a man, this might be a Fitted Mens Shirts without a tie, navy trousers and loafers. For women it could be a smart blouse with cropped, tailored trousers and flat shoes.
According to some studies, more than one in ten 18-24-year olds have considered leaving their workplace due to a strict dress code. Older employees, however, do not share the same strong views. Only 7% of those aged 55 and over said that they would think about leaving their employment because of the dress code. Compare this to 17% of 18-24s and it’s clear to see a divide. It might depend on which sector you operate in as to how your staff feel about uniform. Those working in the energy sector (32%), science and pharma sector (31%) and IT sector (29%) are most likely to leave their role due to dress code requirements, one study discovered.
To improve staff retention, should businesses consider removing the dress code? Quite possibly. Employers are aware of how high staff turnover can have great cost and productivity implications. Costs incur during the recruitment process as the position is advertised and time is spent by employers interviewing and selecting candidates. Having a dress code may deter candidates too — 61% of people looking for a new job in 2017 said that they’d have a negative perception of any company that enforced a dress code. Productivity also takes a hit, as often a current employee has to spend time training the new starter or letting them shadow their day-to-day activities — this can prevent existing workers from working to their maximum capacity.
As more creative companies hit the ground more running, business casual is becoming the trendier option. In fact, between 2010 and 2016, the creative industries sub sectors (i.e advertising, film and TV) grew their economic contribution by 44.8%. Dress code is often less strict in these companies, as employees are encouraged to express their ‘creative flair’.
The impacts of how you dress
Studies have shown that whatever you wear to the workplace can have an impact on your behaviour. With the help of Charles Tyrwhitt, navy suits suppliers, we take a closer look…
During one test, subjects were given a white coat and told different things. The participants that were told it was a doctor’s coat, felt more confident in accomplishing tasks compared to those that were told they were wearing a painter’s coat. Other research shows that wearing more formal clothing can make people think more broadly.
However, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg wears the same style of clothing every day and is worth over billions of dollars. He says that dressing in this way gives him one less decision to make and allows him to focus on more important workplace decisions.
If there wasn’t a strict dress code in the workplace, UK workers said that they would be more productive according to Stormline. Moreover, 78% of respondents to one survey said that they would still make an effort to dress well and wouldn’t blur the line between ‘work clothes’ and ‘non-work clothes’ if there weren’t any rules on what to wear.
Making the decision for your business
At the end of the day, the decision does come down to the employer. It may depend on their role, too. First impressions still, and most likely will, always count. If employees are in a client-facing role, it’s important to look professional and approachable — they are effectively representing the business and should be making it look good.
It’s always beneficial to be as inclusive as possible, and ask your staff what they think. This could be the best indicator of whether a uniform is best for the business or not. As we’ve seen, uniforms can affect behaviour at work and it is down to the individuals as to whether they work best following, or not adhering to, a dress code.