For many businesses, staff are expected to adopt a formal dress code consisting of suits and ties. However, not all businesses take the same approach. Some allow staff to come to work in casual wear. Here at Recruitment Genius, we chose to let our staff wear what they like within the expectations set. Therefore we have identified a few pros and cons on permitting staff to swap shirts and smart shoes for t-shirts and trainers.

Pro: Expresses personal style

A casual dress code offers employees flexibility and the opportunity to express their personal sense of style. This may be important to many who feel restricted in their “uniform”. Therefore by staff being encouraged to dress more causally you may find that morale is boosted, which helps productivity and creativity.

Con: May encourage inappropriate wear

With the idea that causal wear helps expresses identity, some employees may wear clothing that your business deems as inappropriate. This may be short skirts, low-cut tops or clothing with offensive images/text. Though some employees may not see any harm, it could cause offense to others. Therefore if you do chose to let staff wear their own attire, it may be worthwhile to set some standards and rules on dress codes. For example Recruitment Genius has a ‘no beach or bed attire’ rule which loosely translates into don’t wear anything you would on the beach or in bed.

Pro: Creates a more friendly atmosphere

Some employees may feel too rigid in a suit, which could contribute to a tense environment. By wearing clothes that are more comfortable and expressive of their individualism, staff may feel more relaxed. This also boosting morale, which could motivate staff to work harder.

Con: Sense of professionalism may be lost  

In contrast to the above point, dress causally may undermine the professional image of the business. People tend to associate a person dressed in smart, business attire with professionalism. By wearing causal clothing, this association may become lost. Especially if your business holds regular meetings or has clients who come into the office. Therefore it may be wise to have a rule to dress smartly when those occasions arise or to have a dress-down Friday instead.

Pro: Casual clothing is cheaper

Smart suits, shirts for every day of the week and shiny shoes can be expensive for employees. Therefore relaxing the dress code could help your employee’s bank balance. Staff can still look smart and professional without wearing a fitted suit. Again this will promote a more relaxed environment and can take the pressure off ensuring all shirts are crisply ironed for the week.

Con: Could cause a divide

For some businesses, adopting the more causal look could cause a divide amongst staff. Some members of staff may feel isolated from other workers because they dress a lot differently. This causing them to be unhappy at work and feeling like an ‘outsider’ which in turn could encourage their decision to leave their job. However, if you set up clear guidelines and consequences towards any unpleasant comments then these issues can be tackled.

If you chose to implement a causal dress code than it may be a good idea to have a clearly written policy. State what kinds of attire are acceptable and what the consequences are if a member of staff does not follow the guidelines. It is also important to consider the type of industry your business is in. For some, causal attire just isn’t appropriate whereas for others it is. Therefore it is important to consider all of the above factors before you make a decision on if you should adopt a causal dress code.

What are your views on staff dressing casually? Do you let staff wear what the like, have a dress down on a Friday or have a strict dress code? Please leave a comment below:

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