Casual Friday or Casual Everyday?

Can you put a price on an informal workplace dress code? $5000, apparently. 

In a recent survey by Randstad, 33% of respondents said that they would rather have an informal dress code than earn an extra $5000 (approx. 4500€) in salary. 

But they didn’t stop there. The same number said, “they’d quit their job (or turn down a job offer) if they were required to follow a conservative dress code.” 

What makes informal dress so desirable? Sophie (our HR Manager here at Spacebase), explains, “an informal dress code gives people the ability to express themselves, it’s particularly important in creative industries. People appreciate the freedom, not having someone else dictate what kind of style they should wear.”

It’s not just about workers being able to express themselves, though. Casual clothes in the workplace are becoming increasingly popular, in part due to a growing millennial workforce, who value comfort over the restrictions of a traditional suit. In hot weather, having to don a suit instead of a t-shirt and shorts can seem like a punishment.

How casual is too casual?

73% of respondents felt ripped jeans were not appropriate for the office. While Sophie didn’t think they’re inappropriate, she agreed that “some things cross the line, like shirts with offensive slogans or something you might wear to the club. We want our employees to be comfortable, but this is still a workplace.’

Office inequality

Informal dress codes have been particularly impactful for women, who have endured decades of dress code discrimination. Female workers have been disciplined for a variety of ridiculous reasons, including being sent home without pay for refusing to wear high heels.  

A 2017 report by the House of Commons concluded that dress codes forcing women to wear high heels for long periods of time are not only sexist, but “damaging to their health and wellbeing.” Relaxing dress codes is just the tip of the iceberg, but it’s a step in the right direction!

As employers look to improve working conditions by putting employee comfort to the forefront, in an effort to maximise productivity, it seems logical to start by taking off those suit trousers and slipping into some well fitting jeans.

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