How important are dress codes in today’s workplace?

Company dress codes have been a controversial subject of late. We are increasingly hearing stories of those who have been unfairly treated as a result of dress codes, and not only this, but as more millennials enter the workplace the lines between smart and casual dress are beginning to blur.

As dress code restrictions continue to cause debate, a recent survey from CV-Library found that one third (33.5%) of UK workers have said that businesses should ditch corporate dress codes, with a further 36.9% believing that they have become outdated. The study sought to gain a better understanding of how important dress codes are to both employees and businesses – below I discuss the results.

Things are changing

Dress codes are always changing, especially with there now being more awareness around the subject. The majority of professionals (82.5%) believe that dress codes have changed over the years, and nearly half (46.8%) believe that they will continue to become more relaxed in the future. Why? There are a number of reasons.

Firstly, more and more business are offering casual dress as a perk of working at the company, meaning more professionals are attending work in casual clothing. Not only this, but as workplaces become more relaxed, many understand that the way we dress is a reflection of our personality which can go some way to building a great company culture.

That said, many don’t believe that dress codes are outdated, and of those one quarter (25.9%) said that smart dress makes them feel more professional, with a further 55.6% agreeing that it looks better when dealing with customers.

Every business is different

It’s important to remember that every business is different, some professionals will spend their whole day customer facing, while others could be working from an office where they are only seen by their co-workers. This means that each company will have different requirements, and the personal preference of the employer will also play a role here.

Not only this, but some businesses may choose to offer casual dress as a perk. For example, at CV-Library staff dress smart throughout the week, but we offer dress down Friday’s, where staff can wear whatever they like (within reason of course!). Choosing to offer these kinds of perks also affects your company dress code.

So are traditional dress codes outdated?

The truth is, there is no right or wrong answer. There is no real research to back up the theory that smart dress makes you any more or less professional. So at the end of the day, you’ve got to do what suits you and your employees’ best. Every industry and every company will be different, although as a general rule, if you spend your day dealing with customers or clients face-to-face, it’s a good idea to wear smart dress.

It’s also important to remember that as things continue to change, people may take dress code into consideration when looking for a job. They may be more, or less likely to accept a job at your company as a result, which could affect your recruitment efforts. Be sure to pick a fair and comfortable dress code, and one which reflects your business and the work you do.

For more information and statistics, download the full report here:

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