Are You Re-Thinking Your Company’s Dress Code?

If not, you probably should be. 

After two years of casual work-from-home wear (or the formal tops with tracksuit bottoms that create the ideal Zoom outfits!), employees are tired of having to dress up for the office.

Partly, this could be because they haven’t been updating their wardrobes.  Clothing sales slumped by 25% in 2020, and they still haven’t completely recovered. 

“It’s abundantly clear that the pandemic has accelerated a long-standing discussion around whether business attire is still relevant”.

Another reason, according to BBC Worklife, is that we’ve been gradually moving away from formal dress codes at work, even before Covid.  It’s certainly a long time since pinstriped power suits and shoulder pads were all the rage: if anything, these are now more likely to symbolise an outdated company approach.

Recently, the FT reported on a three-day business conference, at which Day Two brought a “noticeable de-escalation” in formal wear.  One founder of a corporate intelligence company discarded the designer suit he’d worn on Day One, arriving the next day in “a knitted top, jeans and trainers.”  “People no longer find a suit a free pass to competence”, he said.

Another delegate talked about how she had abandoned her high heels for good, “after 18 pandemic months of comfort”. 

Is ‘dress-down Friday’ a thing of the past?

As the working world embraces a hybrid future, with employees working both from home and in the office, formal dress codes will surely become even harder to enforce. 

Employers may therefore need to think about specific situations where formal attire might be required – such as meeting clients, or giving a presentation – and for the rest of the time, adopt a more flexible approach to how their employees dress for work.

If you would like some advice on how to re-configure your dress code, or indeed on any aspect of workplace culture, please contact a member of our expert team at Viridian HR.

 

 

 

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