The ultimate business attire continues to be marketed as the classic suit-and-tie, yet today, many companies are questioning the extent to which classic looks still apply in offices. The new millennium is an age of mobility, remote working, and a quest for meaning on the part of employees. Form is giving way to function, and this applies to appearance as much as to key procedures. According to a study by Stormline, 61% of people feel more productive when the dress code is relaxed. Moreover, 78% said that even if their company did not impose a dress code, they would know perfectly well how to distinguish between professional and non-professional attire.
What You Wear Still Matters
Appearance does matter; numerous studies have shown that first impressions are key, both in business and in one’s personal life. A study published in the journal SAGE found that people are “influenced by outward appearances even after interacting with a person face-to-face.” Moreover, people take just seconds to make a decision on who (or how professional) you are. The Stormline study actually showed that 68% of respondents said they were more likely to trust a well-dressed employee to do a job effectively than someone who didn’t bother dressing up, but that individual style and formality had little or nothing to do with effectiveness. An even larger majority felt that quality of attire was more important than complying with a potentially irrelevant dress code.
Dress Smarter: Work SmarterDo you work better having a pyjama day or a smartly dressed day? I think it's probably subjective but I try to explain the benefits of dressing smartly (even in a home office)
Can Dress Codes Be Discriminatory?
Style is a personal matter that can clash with company dress codes. Fashionable employees will often choose shawls, designer accessories, and even eye wear to make a statement about their love for design. Dress codes that establish strict suit-and-tie-type garb can clash with personal tastes. They can also, it seems, be discriminatory. Both men and women surveyed, for instance, felt (with a clear majority) that workplace dress codes were discriminatory to the opposite sex. Thus, the old business suit for men and shirt, skirt and jacket for women, can interfere with comfort, and can seem a little outdated in an era in which equality continues to be highly valued and sought-after by job seekers.
How Should Employees Dress To Maximise Productivity?It used to be that we had to be suited and booted when we went to work. Now, with the rise of flexible, freelance and remote working companies are becoming a lot more relaxed about their dress codes - but how does that affect
Workplace Dress Codes As A Barrier For Disabled Workers
Human resources professionals who impose dress codes should also consider their effect on disabled employees. Research undertaken in 2018 by researchers at the University of Missouri-Columbia found that people living with disabilities encounter obstacles in workplace participation – one of which is the lack of appropriate clothing items. These employees, said researchers, “want clothing that makes them feel confident. Unfortunately, the apparel industry has yet to sufficiently meet the demand for this population.” HR professionals should therefore take this consideration into account, analysing the extent to which imposed dress codes can make working life more difficult for workers in the company with disabilities.
How Your Professional Appearance Affects Your ProductivityHow you dress at work can have a big impact on how you are perceived and also your productivity. Not convinced? Then let Tara Edwards explain what you wear at work is just as important as what you say and do.
Younger generations are seeking freedom and diversity in their offices, and this means less strict dress codes. Far from promoting better performance, dress codes that are exceedingly specific can interfere with a worker’s perception of their own effectiveness. Most workers have a good idea between workplace and leisure attire, which suggests that a general dress code is more appropriate in the new millennium than a strict one.
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