Informal work attire and dress-down days can have a positive impact on a company in more ways than you might have imagined. Striking the balance between a clean and tidy appearance and practicality can alleviate discomfort and financial strain for the individual worker.It also illustrates that a business is progressive and willing to go to extra lengths to make its workers happy and content.
“Employers should trust their people enough to let them dress how they please. They may wish to advise on items they don’t want to see in the office, but to specify what they must wear is highly patronising,” health expert, Sir Cary Cooper CBE says.
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In terms of professional attire, it has its place in work settings but for general day-to-day tasks, employees will find less restrictive and more comfortable clothing such as t-shirts and jeans to be preferable. A looser dress code can lead to workers being more productive as they will be more focused on critical business tasks rather than the uncomfortable fit of a suit.
A study by Stormline found 61% of employees are more productive when they are able to dress in relaxed, “non-work clothes” and that 80% deem workplace dress codes to be unnecessary.
Relaxed dress codes can also boost morale as workers will be less anxious about their appearance during working hours and more willing to partake in after-work activities such as sports and charity efforts, which would usually require a change in clothes. Employees more comfortable in their surroundings will feel energised, happier and more willing to work, which feeds back into productivity.
Even if you only have one dress-down day a week, you will be providing employees with an important outlet for their own self-expression and individuality. Some workers believe strict dress codes are limiting and act as a control mechanism, which is not ideal in departments where creativity is required. Informal wear shows you care about how your employees feel in themselves during working hours.
Easing dress codes makes your brand more open and approachable for all which can be useful during interviews and when trying to attract prospective employees. If people can see that you have built a company culture that respects and values its employees, you will be thought of more highly both internally, which strengthens employee loyalty, and externally by other companies and professionals.
Helping those with disabilities
Informal clothing is, for some employees, a necessity. Employees with disabilities and or chronic illnesses may suffer greatly if they are forced to wear a buttoned-up shirt and tighter clothing. Such individuals are also unlikely to ask for an exemption in dress code.