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Over a third of staff declare corporate dress code is outdated

Does your business have a corporate dress code? If so, there may be an uprising from staff as a third believe that the days of specifying attire should be left to the schoolyard.
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Depending on the industry a business operates in will determine the attire that employees are able to wear. But for many, a corporate dress code is enforced, leaving little room for flexibility or imagination.

Those in professional services will traditional need to don suits, while retail staff often have a set uniform. But it seems the corporate dress code has had its day, at least according to findings from CV-Library.

The job site revealed 36.9 per cent of staff feel as though smart work clothing is out of date, while 33.5 per cent want to see their businesses snub the corporate dress code altogether.

The top reason for the dislike of smart work clothes was put down to discomfort at 27.8 per cent. This was followed by 23.9 per cent who want to show off their personality and 18.3 per cent said it’s because styles are consistently in a state of flux.

A majority of 82.5 per cent agreed that dress codes have changed as time has passed and 46.8 per cent think they’ll change further still, expecting the corporate dress code will become more relaxed and casual further along the line.

Lee Biggins, founder and MD of CV-Library, said: “There continues to be a lot of debate around dress codes in the workplace and whether it’s still a necessity to dress smart.

“Dress codes mean different things to different people: some people prefer to dress smart, while others see it as a perk to be able to wear more casual clothes. We now have more flexibility in what we can wear to work and if your workplace has the option, then stick to what feels best for you!”

It could be a case of the needs of the many outweighing those of the few, however, as 65.5 per cent said they enjoy having a dress code to follow. Interestingly, it rose to 67.3 per cent among 18-24 year-olds – the demographic usually in favour of change – and to 69.1 per cent for 55-64 year-olds.

In fact, the study revealed it was those aged 35 to 44 that wanted the corporate dress code banished at 42.7 per cent.

But for those championing the corporate dress code, 55.6 per cent appreciate looking more professional for customers, while 25.9 per cent said they felt more professionals. Other reasons included keeping everyone equal at 8.9 per cent, 7.2 per cent said work attire and casual wear should remain apart and 2.4 per cent said it boosts productivity.

“Every workplace is different and the rules are very dependent on the industry or role that a person is working in,” Biggins added.

“There is no real evidence to suggest that there is a link between standards of behaviour and dress codes, though I personally believe that you should always dress smart if you’re in an external facing role or meeting with a client, customer or supplier.”

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About Author

Zen Terrelonge

Zen Terrelonge is the deputy editor of Real Business, specialising in media, innovation, technology and the digital sector. A media professional with eight years worth of experience he has worked for both startup and established publications.

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