Dress For Success | Do we really need dress codes at work?

Do we really need dress codes at work?

The answer to “Do we really need dress codes at work?” varies, depending on who you ask. The attitude towards dress codes is shifting radically. Some companies still enforce dress codes, others just abandon them altogether. However, everyone can agree on one thing and that is the “no sweatpants” policy.

Many believe dress codes to be necessary and that they act as a guideline that makes deciding what to wear to work every day easier. Others suggest that dress codes are very unnecessary and repressive. These differing views can be seen between organisations, with technology companies favouring a rather relaxed and lenient approach and other professional organisations having lengthy, strict sets of rules.

Dress codes are becoming less and less common as the years go by. This change is said to have been brought about by the millennial workforce, who favour a workplace where there are fewer limitations on what they can wear to work. So, should dress codes should be implemented or abandoned?

They are not comfortable

After the Covid19 pandemic it is safe to say that many have gotten comfortable and used to working from home. The latter changed many aspects of peoples’ work lives, given that a number of people have settled into a hybrid or fully virtual work experience. As a result, questions have arisen such as “What happens to dress codes?” and “Can we finally do away with the need to wear business attire when working from home?”. According to a recent survey, more than 80% of people said they performed better at work when dressed comfortably, while 76% said casual work attire creates better connections between colleagues. Working from home during the pandemic has led many workers to see that job performance can be excellent without donning formal attire. Many do not want to feel pressured to put on makeup, wear a dress or blazer, or suppress their individuality. Having the freedom and flexibility to dress in ways that reflect peoples’ authentic selves can lead to cultivating inclusion, equity, high morale, and productivity at work.

Appearance bias

Many employers and employees believe that appearance bias still runs rampant, and that abandoning a dress code culture can decrease this appearance bias so that everyone can show their true self, without the need for a “mask” that abides by what is socially attractive to wear at the workplace. Instead of companies continuing to perpetuate workplace personals and images that feel stiff and exclusionary, they should do away with formal dress codes at the workplace, whether that be for virtual or in-person work. Trusting that employees will exercise good judgement and not take it too far and come to work in their pyjamas is vital in this scenario. If the minority do take advantage of this freedom, then one-to-one conversations will need to be had with them, rather than closing the door to this freedom for the majority.

Kills creativity

Employees who work in contemporary and rather loose environments tend to hate following the strict rules of dress codes. They feel as though they can perform better whenever they can wear an unstructured set of dressing standards. Moreover, creative people express their self-identity through the way they dress a lot of the time. This also shows the confidence of a person. Therefore, when a dress code is implemented, it often kills the creativity of the person. Consequently, the latter can create a barrier in performance and productivity.

Enhance productivity

This may sound contradictory to the before mentioned points, however, it has also been said that wearing work clothes psychologically prepares employees to do work more productively. The reason for this is that it gives people an individual perspective of living up to the standards that many people expect when they see how you dress. For example, if you are wearing a specific company uniform that delineates a strong positive image, it will influence your determination to live up to others’ expectations.

Boosts team spirit and professionalism

Standard clothing strongly resembles who you are professionally and which company or brand you represent. For some businesses who use a specific uniform, it positively impacts the team spirit of the members. Therefore, many organisations like schools, militaries, and sports teams, design their uniform to increase the optimisation of team spirit. In an environment where a variety and diverse pool of employees work together, having uniform attire will help them relate to each other more and develop a sense of equality and improve teamwork.

Creates long-lasting impressions

It cannot be denied that people tend to make assumptions based on their appearance. If your employees interact with clients regularly, such in real estate or even recruitment, employers must ensure their employees are providing a great first impression. Therefore, a dress code in the workplace can ensure that when clients meet the employees, they reflect the nature of the company and create an excellent visual impression from the very onset.

At GRS we take time to understand the working environment of each of our clients and will happily brief you on their dress code call +357 25342720 or +356 21680800 to plan your interview outfit.