Just because you’ve “always done it that way”, doesn’t mean it’s the best way. Opting for a different route can sometimes lead to better results. But does this apply to dress codes? In recent years, we’ve seen more and more companies dropping the shirt and tie tradition. But why? Are they just a lazy bunch or is there a more meaningful reason? Read on to see how a more casual workplace dress code could affect productivity for your business.

The productivity debate

As far back as the 1990s, researchers have been stating the advantages of casual attire in the workplace. In 1999, Gutierrez and Freese listed the benefits as “improved employee morale, a lack of cost to the employer, increased worker productivity, more open communication between staff and managers, cost savings to employees because casual business wear is less expensive, and improved work quality.”

In contrast to this, several critics have highlighted the lazy attitude that can arise from casual attire. If workers are wearing a t-shirt and jeans, there is a worry that they will become too comfortable. The problem? Neither side of the argument has concrete evidence. It’s hard to say whether something boosts or diminishes productivity when there’s nothing to support it.

Do dress codes impact on happiness?

So, with no concrete evidence, how can we figure it out? In the end, it comes down to happiness in the workplace. Collaborative research by the University of Warwick and Social Market Foundation found a productivity boost of approximately 12% when workers were happier.

After providing drinks and snacks, or showing a short comedy clip, the researchers were able to compare happy workers with a control group. The happy workers were significantly more productive. Can anyone seriously say they’re happier sat in a shirt and tie all day? Casual clothes give employees the freedom to wear what they want. Although, this could be a shirt and tie if it’s what makes them happy.

Are there any exceptions?

As with any rule, there are going to be exceptions. While casual clothes might boost productivity, it’s important to consider the image of the company. If employees are in a role where they’re meeting clients or serving customers, the impression they give off is a big part of their productivity. It’s understandable that you might want them to dress a certain way.

Even in this case, however, there are some ways it could be favourable to have employees dressing casually. Take creative agencies, for instance. In a world where suits are uniform and corporate, it’s actually beneficial for digital and creative agencies to dress informally – to an extent. And there’s no reason this can’t be applied to other sectors. A business with personality beats a bland, corporate look in almost every situation, surely?

Office space with personality

Much like your employees, your office space needs to give off the right impression. It’s also important for boosting employee happiness and productivity. At Anvic, we provide office spaces, virtual offices and meeting rooms that can do exactly that. Our top-rate facilities are combined with modern technology and support services to give your business the perfect foundation for success. For more information on any of our services, contact us today.