Casual dress at work: In or out?

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Nearly two thirds of HR professionals support casual dressing on Fridays – and CEOs are increasingly agreeing that relaxing the dress codes at the end of the week makes good sense.

A survey from Talent2 revealed that 59% of CEOs now support casual dressing on Fridays, yet a third of employees believe the end-of-the-week casual dress code has lowered the standard of overall workplace dressing.

Karen Wells, senior account director at PR firm Text 100, said her firm encourages employees to express their personalities through their dress code.

“We don’t mind at all if people want to have pink streaks in their hair, or if they feel like wearing shorts on a hot day,” Wells said. She added that when meeting with clients, the expectation would be for the employee to “dress appropriately” and “mirror the client’s style or expectations”.

Perhaps casual dressing is the expected policy from youthful businesses with a hip image, but what about at a recruitment firm?

John Rawlinson, CEO, Talent2 agrees with leaving dress codes to employee discretion, but said his employees are expected to “dress appropriately to their working environment”. “Our policy is that everybody should dress appropriately for their client base - but we don’t stipulate,” he said.

Rawlinson said that increasingly he has noticed organisations taking a discretionary approach. “If they aren’t dealing with customers, why would you make them wear shirts and ties every day?” he said.

Rawlinson said Talent2’s dress code is simply to ‘dress appropriately’, but on the topic of dressing casually, he felt that anything that can make the working environment more comfortable and therefore more dynamic “has to be a good thing”.


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