- Casual dress is becoming more common in the workplace, according to analysis from Indeed. The percentage of workplaces that allow casual dress jumped from 32% to 50% in five years, and 62% of workplaces in its analysis have at least one casual dress day a week, said Indeed.
- Indeed credited employees with driving casual dress, citing a U.K. study that found 61% of job seekers view employers negatively for enforcing dress codes. Tech firms and startups are among the employers on the frontline of relaxing dress codes — allowing for casual wear going back as far as the 1980s, said Indeed. Employers have responded to this growth by making casual dress a recruiting tactic, especially to attract millennials.
- Indeed said employers should consider the nature of their business before adopting a casual dress code; jeans and t-shirts aren't appropriate for every activity or occasion. Even employees don't approve of all types of casual attire, said Indeed. The job site cited a recent survey in which one-quarter of workers said they considered their employer's dress code to be too lenient.
Companies that require uniforms or strict professional attire might normally forego casual dress codes, but even retailers Walmart and Target and Wall Street companies like Goldman Sachs have relaxed their dress codes recently. The message behind the change is that it's not necessary for all workers to look alike, that workers should full comfortable bringing their authentic selves to work. Attracting and retaining talent with this idea may be spurring the shift.
Allowing employees to dress based on their personal preferences could make for a smart recruiting strategy. Although, Indeed pointed out that employers might still need to maintain a stricter, more professional dress code when dealing with clients or customers. Employers can enact dress policies that allow for personal expression with guidelines that maintain professionalism. However, experts have cautioned against dress codes that are too specific about the types of clothing that are acceptable, noting that — even if casual dress is permitted — these policies might send the inadvertent message that everyone must wear the same types of clothes.
"There was a time when employers tried to be detailed, but now the more detailed potentially the more risk," Jonathan A. Segal of Duane Morris LLP previously told HR Dive. He continued: "requiring uniformity when it's not necessary creates a cultural issue," as with an employee who might wish to wear a sari. "This can lead to religion bias issues and national origin bias issues based on someone's culture."