Why Are Companies Rethinking Dress Code Policies Post Pandemic?
Sharon Eric, an account executive at a digital marketing agency, is back in the office and finding it difficult to be dressed in a ‘business attire’ every day. She and her team have worked from home for two years during the pandemic.
In today’s post pandemic workplace, employees are drawing a stark contrast between the work-from-home dynamics and the current back-to-office scenario, especially in terms of what they wear during work hours.
To respond to these rising discussions around the post pandemic dress code policy, many companies have or are in the process of relaxing the policies around what is generally referred to as the ‘corporate attire’. Employees are also taking advantage of this new, post pandemic dress code policy; wearing more comfortable and versatile clothes while still appearing professional.
The question is: Do post-pandemic dress code policies have any impact (if at all) on employees’ performances, morale and productivity? Let’s find out.
Post pandemic dress code policy: a hot topic
Some people feel that a dress code policy is necessary to maintain a professional appearance in the post pandemic workplace. Others believe that it is discriminatory and can create a hostile work environment. Many companies are now reevaluating their policies to consider these concerns. They are coming up with more flexible guidelines that consider individual preferences. Here are some tips for creating a dress code policy that is both effective and respectful.
– Start by conducting an online survey to get feedback from employees. This will help you understand their needs and preferences.
– Consider whether there are specific industries or job roles where a certain attire is required. For example, hospital doctors may have to follow a strict dress code. At the same time, businesses that serve children may require them to wear more modest clothes.
– Ensure that a post pandemic dress code policy is visibly posted for employees to know what not to wear even when the company allows a casual dress code policy.
Whether pre or post pandemic dress code policy, the formality of a company’s dress code is usually determined by the interactions employees have with clients in a post pandemic workplace. Therefore, employees must dress appropriately to fulfill the expectations of their customers. For example, suppose you work in marketing or public relations. In that case, wearing a casual dress inside the office is okay. However, if you must meet with your client to take care of their business, it would be wise to dress professionally.
Improved and happier working environment
A more flexible approach to dressing for work might decide whether a company is successful in recruiting young, bright personnel. One survey found that more than 60% of workers, particularly younger generations, are interested in working for businesses that encourage a casual post pandemic work environment.
Employers that wish to compete with businesses like Google and Facebook, which are notorious for having highly permissive dress standards, may want to consider adopting policies like those of these two organizations.
Improved employee morale
Employee morale soars if you let them wear business casual. It demonstrates your faith and trust in your employees to present themselves correctly in this post pandemic workplace. Employees are delighted to wear khakis or jeans in the post pandemic office after a protracted work-from-home period. Consequently, they are pleasant, cooperative, adaptable, and creative. A joyful worker can concentrate on their task, not their coworkers’ attire.
Workplaces with a more relaxed dress code tend to have happier employees—a place of work that puts the health and productivity of its workers ahead of how they look.
The case of tattoos and piercings
Dressing in the proper outfit is not nearly as crucial as how you conduct yourself in the workplace. Many employers are not comfortable hiring candidates with visible tattoos and unusual piercings. The post pandemic dress code policy has seemingly changed that notion. Now, more than ever, companies have become tolerant of body art.
Approximately 36 percent of Americans between 18 and 29 have at least one tattoo. And they are performing exceptionally well at work. This goes on to say that it’s just the individual’s character and qualifications that impact their growth and efficiency.
Google, Quicken Loans, and Amazon are known for their professionalism, yet their dress code is business casual. Employees at several Fortune 500 organizations wear casual clothing. No one’s credentials or character are altered by having visible piercings or tattoos on the job, even if the company has a business professional clothing dress rule.
Less restrictive, more adaptable
Employees want more comfort and flexibility in their dress codes. They know that even when a business is trying to encourage a healthy lifestyle and good hygiene, having to wear certain types of clothing can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. Employees also want to be able to dress in a way that is appropriate for the work they are doing. This can mean wearing something entirely different from what you would typically wear.
As a post pandemic dress code strategy, many organizations are abandoning tight dress standards in favor of more flexible ones. It also recognizes that the workforce is more varied than ever before and that the formal dress requirement of the 1990s no longer applies.
Relaxed dress codes mean productivity
The most common complaints against dress codes are that they are too restrictive, preventing employees from dressing comfortably and reflecting their style. That is why many companies are reconsidering their post pandemic dress code policies and allowing employees to wear casual clothing in the workplace. Kaplan Financial Institution found that 45 percent of employers saw an increase in productivity after establishing post pandemic dress codes.
A study published in Human Resource Development Quarterly showed that employees felt authoritative and trustworthy when they wore formal attire and friendly when dressed casually. Studies have found that employees are more productive at work when dressed casually. Researchers found that the relaxed atmosphere created by a post pandemic casual dress code allowed employees to be more creative and take on new challenges. In addition, it helped them build better relationships with coworkers since they were no longer viewed as outsiders.
Companies are rethinking post pandemic dress code policies to promote diversity and gain an advantage over their competitors by hiring talented employees. Some might think of a relaxed dress code as an unnecessary fad, but the reality is that it makes good business sense. It also shows employers are serious about helping employees feel comfortable at work by embracing diversity more fully.