Are the days of the formal suit in the workplace behind us? Certainly not, but that doesn’t mean that the casual business style is not taking over the world in a very big way. This should come as no surprise, of course, given the fact that some of the biggest brands in the world have adopted the casual dress code and mindset, ranging from Google to Apple and beyond. Why have they done this, you may ask? For a variety of reasons, but ultimately for the sake of profit, customer acquisition, and top talent retention.
Adopting a casual dress code in your company is one of the best and quickest ways to bring new life into the workplace, but the decision may also come with a variety of other short, mid, and long-term benefits. Let’s examine the effect of the casual dress code and give you a clear idea of how best to implement it into your business.
Building an appealing work environment is not an easy task, especially if you’re looking to attract the top talent in the industry. The modern job market is a highly-competitive one, and the best of the best are nowadays able to pick and choose the companies they work with – mind you, they don’t have to put up with any “stringent” measures.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that a high-enough salary will inspire them to come on board, because top talent will have no problem skipping your offer for a more casual, stress-free work environment. Remember, your dress code is an important guide for your employees, and it tells the candidates what they can expect the culture and ambiance to look like. Making it casual (within reason) is therefore a great way to attract top talent to your business.
Much like your causal dress code can make your candidates happier in the initial stages, it can also help you elevate employee satisfaction and happiness in the workplace over the long term. Adopting a casual dress code is a good way to boost employee morale by showing them that you trust them to dress according to your brand’s identity and personality, while at the same time allowing their personal style to come to life.
After all, people feel more comfortable and are more productive when they’re able to choose their own attire and style their appearance in their own personal way. This is a good way to create an office space and an ambiance that’s enjoyable for everyone.
This personalized approach will also help build your workplace culture on the right values. Adopting a casual dress code that allows people to personalize their professional appearance will create a culture of transparency, co-dependence and trust, and mutual respect between employees.
There are many ways an employee can personalize their look and make their business attire more versatile, but only if you allow them to opt for a casual approach and inspire them to use the right accents to complete a perfect business look. You can add a policy to the casual dress code and use it to inspire your employees to focus on accents that will make them more unique.
For example, your male employees can use a stylish men's card holder to complement their casual suit and maintain its straight lines, or they can opt for a more casual watch to go with their new style. Women should be inspired to be comfortable and wear the accents that emphasize not their looks but their professional flair and their ability to get the job done. After all, long gone are the days of objectification in the workplace, so make sure to make your policy flexible and versatile.
One of the biggest problems business leaders are facing nowadays is creating a diverse workplace and deconstructing stereotypes that somehow always seem to creep back in. What you might not have noticed is that your outdated dress code might be key culprit in this affair, and that it might be ruining your brand’s reputation.
Adopting a more casual dress code allows these stereotypes to disappear by people wearing the clothes that make them unique, represent their ethnicity and culture, and just make them who they really are. This is an important step towards boosting employee morale and creating a diverse workplace where people are valued and accepted no matter where they come from.
Indirectly, this will help you create a more appealing employer brand that will attract employees from all over the world. Attracting the top remote talent is especially important during the pandemic, as you need to transition to remote work effectively to stay afloat.
A casual dress code may very well help you attract more clients or customers to your business. Nowadays, the image of competence doesn’t necessarily emanate from a three-piece suit, but rather from the skills and expertise you show through your work, demeanor, and your personalized approach.
The importance of your dress code should, therefore, come in second place, but that doesn’t make it unimportant. Rather, it just means that you should allow your employees to feel comfortable and show their best professional side by letting them wear what makes them feel empowered, competent, and confident.
This is yet another reason to go more casual, but you have to scale your approach according to your industry and brand identity – a casual workplace for a digital agency is not the same as a casual workplace in a law firm, after all.
Your customers and clients expect your employees to dress a certain way, so it’s important to analyze the trends in your industry, and then influence them ever so slightly by bending the rules, setting new norms, and challenging the stereotypes. This will show the customers that you are forward-thinking, and that you’re the game-changer in your field.
Last but not least, don’t expect your employees to know right off the bat what a casual dress code means. Many of your employees won’t know what is appropriate casual wear for the office, so if you just announce that starting tomorrow, they can wear something casual to work, they’ll probably continue wearing the same attire as always.
You as the leader need to make this transition seamless and easy, so make sure to lead by example. What’s more, you should communicate this change to your employee collective by sending out a detailed memo.
Take the time to craft a new dress code policy for your company, and break it down into easily digestible sections to ensure all employees get with the new program. Start by explaining the reasons behind the transition, then lead into the new “rules” and what is allowed, add a section about the type of attire that is too casual, and introduce a section about the importance of personalization. Inspire people to be themselves and leave their personal mark.
The casual dress code is finding its way to more and more companies around the world. Consider adopting this style and mindset in your business as well to take your brand to new heights of success.
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