There is currently a trend toward casual dress in the work place. The question in why your office should have casual dress and which form should it take. There are several modes of casual dress that are allowed by different corporations. There is casual business, casual and relaxed casual. The casual trend started in the 80’s & 90’s when people were being laid off in the corporate world. The general thinking was that employee morale would be raised by the relaxed atmosphere thereby increasing work output.
The casual business dress would mostly consist of khaki pants with no tie or jacket, but with a collared shirt. Golf shirts or button downs would be ok for men. Similar outfits for women, but perhaps a sleeveless blouse would also be allowed. Socks optional but shoes were a requirement. The casual dress code would allow jeans and t-shirts with sneakers, all clean and well maintained. The line was drawn at ripped jeans and tank tops. The relaxed casual introduced the wearing of shorts and sandals (no flip-flops) into the mix.
Although called dress down or casual days, these were initially reserved for Friday. The thought being that everyone would finish off the week by relaxing on their last work day. This led to a general trend of casual dress for the entire week. This spread gathered momentum after the turn of the century until the current day. It is believed that about 40% of businesses (usually who didn’t have face-to-face customer or client contact) have adopted the casual dress week.
There have been several studies done that point to the possibility that this trend has increased productivity 41% of the time. The belief being that when employees are relaxed they tend to feel more comfortable in their position and work at a higher capacity. The relaxed atmosphere is believed to add to greater spontaneity, better work conditions and improved relationships between employees. Several companies offer the casual dress policy as a benefit to working in their company. However, when considering a casual dress policy consideration should be given to spelling out exactly what is and isn’t allowed to avoid problems of poor taste or poor judgment.