Dress-down policies are very popular in today's businesses. Reported benefits from having such policies, which are generally benefits for employees, include monetary savings, comfort and self-expression. Company benefits include boosted employee morale, and reduced chances of employees feeling discriminated against. Reported problems include confusion over what to wear and unprofessional behavior. The following report includes details about the benefits and problems of dress-down policies, as well as recommendations for implementing such a policy. INTRODUCTION
Over the past ten years or so, many businesses have implemented dress-down policies. A dress-down policy is one that allows the employees of a certain business to dress less formally for work. Dress-down Fridays were introduced by corporations in the 1980's, apparently in order to fit in with their clients who adopted the liberal style of Silicon Valley (Brook, 2003). Dress-down Fridays were also thought to boost the morale of employees impatiently awaiting the beginning of their weekend (Hutcherson, 1998). After dress-down Fridays were such a success, many businesses chose to make the Friday dress code policies permanent. Before casual Fridays, the standard business uniform of a three-piece suit had not changed much since the birthplace of the markets. With all the changes in the business environment over those many years, it is only natural that this change would eventually come along. A 1994 survey by the NPD Group, an organization that provides global sales and marketing information, revealed that almost 90% of U.S. workers wear casual clothing to the office at least part of the time (Freese & Gutierrez, 1999). Though dress codes differ within each individual business, many standards are the same, or similar. For men, khaki pants or other plain colored slacks, button down shirts and polished shoes seem to be the biggest staples of the business casual wardrobe (Andre, 2004). For women, again, khakis or other plain colored slacks or skirts, sweaters, and conservative accessories are usually good choices (Andre, 2004). Jeans, ripped or torn clothing, active wear, or anything tight or revealing are all still considered inappropriate for a business environment (Morem, 2004). BENEFITS
Employees spend less money on more casual clothes. Though the prices have decreased dramatically in order to compete with the casual-dressed nation, business suits are still significantly more expensive than casual clothes. Workers can also buy less casual clothes by mixing and matching pants and tops. Instead of buying 5 different suits to get through the week, workers can buy 2 or 3 pairs of pants, and 5 different tops and create different outfits for each day. Workers also get more wear out of these clothes, because they feel comfortable wearing them after work and on the weekends, whereas suits would probably not be worn at those times.
Employees feel more comfortable in the work place when wearing casual clothes. Casual clothes literally fit the body more comfortably than hot, stiff suits. Employees feel more comfortable wearing less restrictive clothing. In addition, employees feel more mentally relaxed in these cloths. They feel like they are at home. This can give them a better attitude about being at work. However, it can be a bad thing if and employee feels too relaxed.
Employees feel like they can show their individuality through the clothes that they wear. They can wear what they think suits their personality, age, gender and lifestyle. Employees may feel more comfortable if they feel they are being given the opportunity to express themselves. No one appreciates feeling inhibited, therefore allowing employees some freedom of expression through their wardrobe can be healthy and beneficial. Another benefit is that if workers are dressing according to their own sense of style and individuality, it is easy from them to go straight from the office to the bar...