While a large number of employees in the nation returned to their offices this week, it seems many were keen to adopt different dress codes to the pre-pandemic world.
According to a poll of more than 500 job seekers carried out by Randstad in June, 28% of Brits wanted to do away with smart casual or formal office dress codes once they returned to work.
Of those, 20% were keen on ‘relaxed’ clothing, while 8% wanted dress codes thrown out completely, replacing suits and dresses with shorts and flip flops.
A separate study undertaken by Randstad in the US had similar findings, with a third (33%) of respondents saying they would turn down a job offer or quit their existing job if they were required to wear formal business clothing. Those preferring more casual attire even said they’d be willing to forgo a $5,000 (£3,600) increase in salary to work for a company with an informal dress code.
Laurel Dines, HR Operations Director at Randstad, said: “While there are proven benefits to more smart or formal office dress codes such as enhancing credibility, boosting confidence and visual uniformity, we’ve found that employees tend to associate how they dress with a certain mindset that allows them to work more productively.
“For example, some of our teams hold dress themed sales days – something we’ve found really boosts productivity, when an element of fun and a central theme is injected into the working day.”
However, not everyone wants to hold on to the loungewear adopted by so many since the pandemic began that John Lewis reported that it last year saw a 1,303% rise in sales of loungewear and leggings.
Of the respondents to Randstad’s UK survey, almost a quarter (24%) couldn’t wait to abandon loungewear to suit up and get back to the office, while 48% said they wanted to keep the pre-pandemic smart casual dress code.
Marcus Beaver, UKI Country Leader at business process outsourcing firm Alight Solutions, predicted last week that many workers would welcome the opportunity to dress up for work again.
“Many employees will be trading in the sweatpants, leggings and t-shirts for trousers, skirts, jackets and cufflinks, as they anticipate a return to smarter attire.
“Businesses around the country are beginning to open doors for employees to re-enter offices, and next Monday could give the Met Gala a run for its money. Retailers experienced a surge in demand for athleisure and loungewear at the start of lockdown, but some workers are now looking to dust off the smart shoes, best suits, ties and jewellery to wear again.
“A chance to reinvigorate style will be a welcome change. Forget Dress Down Friday; next week heralds Dress Up Monday.”
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