Almost every day new studies and reports are released that offer insights into the way that employees feel about their jobs, their bosses and their benefits. And they do offer interesting, often actionable insights. The latest study from a major staffing firm, Ranstad US, is really surprising however. It claims that in order to avoid having to spend their working days in a stuffy suit they would give up quite a lot. Like $5,000 in pay.
The Desire for More 'Casual Fridays'
According to the report, 33% of those surveyed said they would rather quit their job — or decline and yes, one-third of workers said they would rather have a business casual dress code than an extra $5,000 in pay each year. Many managers reading this are probably quite shocked. All those perks and what your employees really want is to be liberated from their stuffy work wardrobes.
It's unlikely however that it's all they want. They still like the health benefits and the flex time too. But yes, there are lots of reasons why it's actually good to consider relaxing your office dress code. Here's a look at just some of them.
Reduced Employee Costs
Precise definitions of business casual attire vary from employer to employer, but you can usually dispense with ties, jackets and pantyhose if you adopt a more casual dress code. Business suits cost more than casual clothing, and you cannot put a suit in the washing machine so dry cleaning bills add to the expense.
You lower your employees' upfront and long-term expenses when you relax your dress code. Some of your employees might find that they can wear the same clothes to work that they wear while at home. And the money they save may make a significant impact on their personal budget, and any time you can help alleviate employees' money worries it's good for their productivity, so good for you.
An employee wearing a silk tie and a stiff-collared shirt might look more professional than an employee wearing a polo shirt, but business suits are not always practical. For example, if your employees have to make outside business calls, then business suits can quickly become disheveled, particularly if you are based in an area where you have weather extremes such as excessive heat, as we experience every year here in Georgia.
Carrying out more physically demanding tasks can prove difficult for an employee wearing high heels or a dress skirt too. You make life easier for your employees if you make changes like replacing dress pants with khakis and allowing females to swap skirts and heels for pants and flats, and maybe create a safer workplace too!
Many people have argued before that you can raise morale by allowing your employees to wear business casual attire. And the study we have just referenced seems to bear that out.
An employee who feels uncomfortable can feel anxious and unhappy, while an employee wearing comfortable clothing usually feels more relaxed. Happy and relaxed employees are more likely to work well with other coworkers and managers and that this fosters a better team spirit. People who feel that they are working toward something as a team are likely to work harder than people who are unhappy and anxious.
Some employers worry that if they relax their dress code people will take advantage and start coming to work in jeans and sweats. Research does not bear this out though. The vast majority of employees still want to look good at work, they just want to feel good too, and a business casual dress code achieves that for many of them.