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More companies are adopting a business casual dress code to demonstrate their contemporary thinking around having a more desirable and "casual" work environment. In fact, in CAI's latest NC Policies and Benefits survey, 72% of employers indicated they allow business casual attire for exempt employees. This data supports a trend we're seeing with many businesses transitioning their entire workforce to a more casual dress code.
However, simply labeling your dress code as “business casual” is non-specific and should be further defined by the organization to avoid any misunderstanding. As summer months tend to typically cause a significant change in the clothing people normally wear, this would be a good time to review your dress code and update it if necessary.
If you have never given much thought to the perils of casual dress during summer months, here are a couple of things to consider:
Make sure your on-boarding and employee training includes a section that covers your corporate dress code. Should your dress code change on a seasonal basis, be sure that is covered up front and that a reminder is communicated well in advance of the season (Summer starts earlier for some people than it does for others).
If you are offering a casual dress code as a perk, make sure your employees realize it is a privilege and that good taste in attire is expected. Such a privilege can be taken away if people begin taking unfair advantage of it.
One question we get from time to time is whether or not it's ok to have different dress codes for different departments. The back office call team may be able to have a more relaxed dress code than a team that interacts with customers. This situation is common and our advice is to just be open with employees about the expectations and why there are differences.
That 72% of employers are allowing exempt employees to go business casual definitely supports what we experience anecdotally that more businesses are relaxing their dress codes. Studies have shown that employees who are comfortable at work tend to also be more productive.
Do you offer a more relaxed dress code during the hot summer months? Please share your dress code on myCAI and how your employees respond to this perk.