The Cause and Effects of Casual Dress in the Workplace
Before the 1990's the average business dress code required a suit be worn everyday of the work week. Then at the beginning of the 1990's the "business casual" attire swept the American office environment, bringing with it many positive aspects as well as negative (Encyclopedia of Small Business, 2002). During the beginning of this revolution it seemed like this new style of dress would turn businesses and organizations around for the better, but as the times progressed the employees would discover that "casual Fridays" and other opportunities to dress down were not just a chance for employees to unwind. Businesses have not only changed the dress code with the help of society's view but have also used "business casual" as a strategic tool to help employees cope with recent decisions that have been made and for the market they are in. The Image of God
We as a people have been created in the image of God. And we as Christians should abide by formal dress codes, because we should always want to say and do our best for God. Michael Speer an associate director of the Southern Baptist Convention Stewardship Commission wrote in his book Put Your Best Foot Forward, "a gentleman may not always be a Christian, but it goes without saying that a Christian should always be a gentleman. A Christian should strive to know how to conduct himself wherever he is" (Speer, 1977). Even though Christians are not perfect and make mistakes, this is compounded by people who are not Christians and are only in it for themselves. The Christian example
It is important for Christians to understand that because we are made in the image of God we are to set a Christian example in all that we do including making the very best possible personal appearance. This does not mean that we must look like "wingtip warriors" from IBM, but according to how old you are and the kind of work you do will all have an effect on how you dress. But if IBM is concerned with the image projected by their employees, "how much more important it is for the Christian to project the very best possible image for the greatest cause in the world, the cause for Christ" (Speer, 1977). Business Dress History
Formal business dress was the norm for many companies before the 1990's. Although during the 1980's professional business wear for men became louder, with the entrance of blue shirts and white collars, bright suspenders, and wild ties, the suit still remained as normal Monday through Friday business attire, until the beginning of casual Fridays around 1991 (Weiser, 1996, ¶ 2). By 1992 a survey by Levi Strauss showed that 26 percent of companies had a dress-down day. Now nearly 75% of the largest companies encourage casual dress for the office at least some of the time (Weiser, 1996, ¶ 3). And according to the Society for Human Resource Management, 95 percent of U.S. companies had some sort of casual day policy in place in 1999 (Encyclopedia of Small Business, 2002). This may seem like a turn in the right direction to achieve employee happiness and a relaxed office environment, but dressing down seemed to go hand-in-hand with downsizing. Casual dress linked to downsizing
Since 1989-1993, about 3 million people have been laid off from their jobs, fortunately this trend began to steadily decrease, but insecurity still ran rampant throughout the business world. Almost half of white-collar workers who lost their jobs during the 1991-1992 recession had to settle for lower pay, and nearly 40% of the major firms that downsized in 1994 boosted hours for the survivors (Weiser, 1996, ¶ 4). Employee reaction to casual dress. David Passman a managing partner from Deloitte & Touche Atlanta states, "In this anxious environment, business casual is "a no-cost benefit." Too bad that real-dollar wages and benefits are down 5.5 percent since 1987. But in your Nautica ensemble, the new business-think goes, you'll feel blissful anyway" (Weiser,...
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