May 23, 2023

Tips for A Flexible Dress Code Policy

Being “hip” while remaining professional

Modern company dress code policies are becoming more and more flexible. You want a relaxed company culture, but you still want your employees to look sharp- right? Navigating this issue can be difficult. Many employers are struggling with establishing the right dress code policies for their business. Office wear is dependent upon a ton of factors, so if you don’t have yours down yet, we are here to help. Dress code specifically deals with the attire an employee is expected to wear while on the job or in the office. Your company dress code policy should be detailed in your employee handbook and explained to new hires from the beginning.

What’s right for your company?

Let me begin by saying that there is no right or wrong dress code policy. Each company is different so there is no defined answer. However, I can share some tips on discovering what works best for your business. Before deciding between slacks and jeans, ask yourself a few questions.

  1. Are your employees required to work in the office?
  2. Do clients regularly visit your office?
  3. Are employees expected to meet with potential/current clients often?
  4. Is your team made up of an older workforce or are you mostly employing millennials?
  5. What type of industry are you in/what is the norm for your industry?
  6. What is your company’s culture like?

Here are a few examples:

Imagine you’re the CEO of a start-up tech company. Your employees have the option of working in the office or from home. Clients don’t visit the office and you sell your product over the phone. Your team is made up of individuals ages 20-35. Office ping pong tournaments and fitness challenges are part of your perk package. In this case, going with a more relaxed dress code policy would be the right call. Think jeans, t-shirts, sneakers, etc.

Now, imagine you’re the owner of a banking company. All your employees are required to perform their job duties at a designated office and your clients regularly come into the office for meetings. Your employees are all around the ages of 35-50. Company culture could be defined as professional, calm and traditional. In this case, a more polished attire would be acceptable. Slacks, dresses, button-downs, etc.- you get the point.

Flexible dress code- good or bad idea?

A flexible dress code policy would be one that can change for various reasons. Do you offer casual dress Fridays (Fun Fridays, etc.)? Does your office get too hot in the summer for formal wear? Do you intend to use a relaxed dress code as an incentive for an internal contest or a goal that was met? Make sure your handbook reflects any changes in dress code. It is becoming more and more popular to allow casual attire at work for modern companies- in fact, this is often viewed as a perk or benefit. A relaxed dress code can be beneficial towards achieving a more relaxed company culture.

Now, what?

Dress code policies are entirely dependent upon industry, the location of the office, remote vs. in-office employees and the type of applicant or demographic that you are trying to appeal to. It is best practice to keep in mind that if clients regularly visit your office or if formal meetings are conducted on the premises, you should consider a more formal dress code policy. A flexible dress code policy isn’t for everyone, but if implementing this is something you see fit, make sure you are explaining this in your employee handbook.

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