The results are in: casual is the new normal when it comes to workplace dress code.
Workplace dress code has evolved over time, forcing employers to roll with the punches. It’s hard to pinpoint just one reason, but casual dress has been on the rise in recent years and has now become widely accepted, with half of companies reporting that they implement an everyday casual dress code.
How Dress Code Has Changed
“Times are drastically different than they used to be. At the beginning of my career, I worked in a very professional office setting that serviced high profile clients. Not only did I have to dress business professional, but, as a woman, I could not wear pants. Women were required to wear skirts/dresses and pantyhose—and not wearing pantyhose was unheard of!” said Melissa Kreps, Human Resources Director of CSS.
Suits, ties, and other professional dress used to be the norm in the workplace, and it even took a long time for dress pants to be considered appropriate dress for women.
In previous decades, it was more common to dress formally in public spaces in general. Whether it be church, a nice dinner, or any variety of settings and situations, people were expected to dress up—unlike today where we can roll up to Applebee’s in sweatpants and a hoodie.
Dress Code as a Perk
It can’t be denied that in this candidate driven market, in order to attract and retain talent, employers shift their wants to the wants of their employees and potential hires—and not going out and having to buy a whole formal wardrobe is a huge perk.
According to a survey conducted this year, one third of workers would turn down an offer at a company with a conservative dress code and would be willing to take a large pay cut at a company with a more informal dress code.
The thought process behind this has a lot to do with bodily autonomy. Not dropping money on expensive three-piece suits is, of course, great, but giving employees the freedom to dress as they are with little constraint is beneficial for both employees and employers. If employees feel in control of themselves, they are likely to feel more comfortable and accepted in the workplace and thus more satisfied in their job. This job satisfaction can benefit employers through retention. If an employee is happy, maybe simply because they’re allowed to wear jeans and t-shirts, they are less likely to leave the company.
*There are a few exceptions, however. When it comes to meeting clients or attending interviews, it’s still in your best interest to dress to impress. Regardless of a company’s dress code, showing up to an interview dressed too casually can give you a bad impression and cost you the job.
Everyday Casual Friday and Your Bottom Line
All in all, casual dress codes are the dress codes of the present today, phasing out the professional dress of previous generations.
Not sure if this applies to you? Even if your industry doesn’t allow for a casual dress code at all time, like law or sales, implementing regular or frequent casual days can make your company considerably more attractive to candidates than your competitors who don’t offer any casual days.
Both employees and employers can reap the benefits of a casual workplace, and if your company is not onboard, they could fall behind in the war for talent.
Contemporary Staffing connects job seekers to hiring managers nationally in the following professions: Accounting & Finance, Call Center & Office, Human Resources, IT, Salesforce, and Sales & Marketing.