If you’re a business owner who currently enforces a strict formal dress code in the office, you should consider a different approach. While some of the world’s top companies require employees to wear a formal suit, many are now transitioning to a casual dress code for the following reasons.
#1) Suits Conceal Workers’ Weaknesses:
Suits allow workers to conceal their weaknesses, creating a serious problem for employers and managers. This is because employees feel more confident when wearing a suit, allowing them to put on a facade while on the clock. An employee wearing a suit may appear to know what he or she is doing, but this could be associated with his or her increased confidence.
#2) Suits Hurt Teams:
Teamwork is an essential skill for office employees. If employees aren’t able to collaborate and work together, your business will suffer. But forcing employees to wear a suit could hurt teamwork in your office. The conformity of suits — everyone looks the same — creates a bland, uninspiring atmosphere that makes teams less effective. Casual attire, on the other hand, has the opposite effect by helping teams. If employees are allowed to dress casual, they’ll feel motivated to express their personal thoughts and opinions on team-based projects.
#3) Suits Promote Lower Productivity:
There’s some evidence suggesting that dress codes affects employees’ productivity. According to a study conducted by Stormline, for instance, 61 percent of employees are more productive when they dress casual. It’s unclear exactly how casual attire has such a positive impact on workplace productivity. Nonetheless, multiple studies have reinforced the belief that formal dress codes lower productivity in the workplace whereas casual dress codes promote productivity in the workplace.
#4) Suits Have Different Requirements for Men and Women:
Finally, there are subtle nuances regarding men’s and women’s suits that can lead to gender inequality issues in the workplace. Men, for example, typically only need to wear a two-piece suit consisting of trousers with a matching jacket. Women, however, must wear a more complex suit consisting of a button-up shirt, skirt or trousers, jacket and accessories. Forcing all your employees to wear a suit can leave female employees feeling like they are getting the short end of the stick.
These are just a few reasons to consider banning business suits in your office. Once you switch to casual attire, you’ll probably discover other benefits of changing your business’s dress code.
Phil Shawe is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of TransPerfect, a global family of companies and the world’s largest privately held provider of language and business services.