Suit up, look sharp
It’s a question often disagreed upon amongst different companies – does work attire affect your productivity?
The common answer is yes – but with different reasoning. Some believe that being smartly dressed in office attire is the ‘proper’ way; if you feel smart and ready for work then you will be. Others argue that if you allow staff to dress casually in clothes that they are comfortable in, they will feel confident and therefore have increased productivity.
A study sponsored by The Master’s College in California published a report that concluded “casual dress has equally positive and negative effects, and… dress codes may or may not be necessary for professional performance” – and that pretty much summarises the findings of every other study on this subject!
In my personal opinion, I believe that each and every individual is different so everyone’s productivity levels will differ under different circumstances. But that isn’t any help to business owners who need to decide which dress code to enforce.
So with no real evidence, how do they go about deciding? Well many seem to go for the ‘down the middle’ approach of smart/ casual, a safe bet. With the range of clients that we have we have seen both ends of the spectrum and also seen how different processes work for different organisations. For me, they key points to consider are:
Who are your customers? How will you be interacting with them?
If your customers are professional corporate bankers who always look extremely professional in suits and a tie and you turn up in jeans and a jumper, you will look out of place before you have even begun. In the same way, if you are trying to approach young adults or teenagers in a relaxed environment but turn up suited and booted looking extremely strict and professional, you are going to struggle to build that customer-business relationship. Try to reflect your customer- this may mean varying your styles depending on which clients you are seeing.
What is your working environment?
Outside of visiting clients, what is the environment in which your staff work like? Consider heat, lighting, how visible they are, spacing and location of where your employees are working before deciding on the dress code.
What do your employees think?
Although it is not their choice, it is important to remember they are the ones who have to dress in this way so considering your employees opinions is important. You may find that they believe the more casual approach will work best for them but you want them to be smartly dressed; if this is the case and you simply make the rules without any chance for feedback or discussion, it is highly likely productivity will decrease due to them feeling a lack of respect rather than due to what they are wearing. Why not compromise and allow a more casual approach on a Friday? They won’t all agree but if you can find common ground that is your best chance of getting the most out of your workers.
What are your thoughts? Let us know – do you agree with what you have to wear to your work? Tweet us @PhewUK.
Here’s the opinion in the office…
Kern, Studio Manager
“Although I am happy to follow the rules and do the same as the rest of my team, I would not feel comfortable dressed in a suit and tie every day. I wouldn’t say this would affect my productivity but I do think that to get the best out of your workers you need to make sure they feel relaxed and comfortable”.
“I don’t particularly think what you wear affects your performance, to an extent, but having pride in your appearance can make you feel better”.
Join in the debate – @PhewUK #suituplooksmart.
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