Dress codes aren't right for every business and every employee. Overly strict dress codes can cause negative impacts within the corporate culture. Eliminating formal dress codes will allow for comfort within the workplace. This can provide additional benefits for both employers and employees. A common notion is “Dress for your Workday”, which allows employees to dress appropriately based on their workday. What are the benefits of a more casual dress code?
Comfort at work leads to more efficiency both physically and mentally. Showing up to work wearing clothing that makes you feel uncomfortable can be a distraction to the work you are trying to accomplish. Scratchy collars and tags can lead to mental irritation that reduces the quality of work- which is especially important with shortened work weeks. Allowing employees to pick their outfits will also ensure that they are wearing clothing that promotes confidence and collaboration.
Eliminating formal workwear can reduce the cost of clothing for employees. Generally speaking, formal workwear is more expensive than our daily casual wear, because they need to be customized with good materials and patterns. Additional costs include dry cleaning and maintenance fees, which can add up over time.
We are seeing an increasing number of companies implementing this notion of “Dressing for your Workday”. Every employee has a unique workday, and each day of the week could look different and could require unique attire. Why should an employee have to dress formally if he or she has no meetings and will only be in the office that day? Or if that employee will be working from home that day? The ability to choose their specific attire each day grants employees greater autonomy in the workplace, something that GenZers are looking for at whichever company they choose.
Going forward, companies will start realizing that their employee's most important priority is flexibility- whether that be with a flexible schedule or workweek. The choice to dress casually or formally to work gives employees the independence to make a wardrobe choice that helps them produce the results they want. Companies should support whichever choice makes their employees the most productive and efficient at work. Productivity and professionalism can come in all sorts of packages other than a suit and tie. As we move towards a post-pandemic future, culture shifts will lead us to more casual environments as we head back to the workplace.