Updated: Nov 12, 2018
Work environments are evolving to encourage more productivity and employee engagement. The ideal office space has become a topic in itself. From hot-desking to stand up working, bean bags to table football and let’s not forget the beer fridge! It sounds fun to some, but not necessarily to all.
Alongside the relaxing and more flexible approach to how we work, expectations around dress code are now becoming somewhat, hazy. This has presented some with, depending on the industry and environment, a bit of a conundrum, “what on earth do I wear?”
Previously, employers would be very clear on their dress code policy, it is a strong reflection of the company’s corporate culture. Dress codes tell a story to customers about the image and professionalism the organisation wishes to portray.
So, as we progress into the future, how do we, across all generations, choose to dress at work to create the right impression to our customers and also fit in with our multi-generational work colleagues?
Before we ‘jump the gun’, not all employers or employees are ready for a ‘new age, fashionista’ approach to the workplace. A one-size-fits-all or universal dress code may also not be realistic, however, some guidelines are achievable and could include the following;
1. Firstly, and most importantly, ask your new employer if there is a dress code policy. If they have one, this will answer most of your concerns. If there is no dress code policy, please read on.
2. Be modest. It is more important to receive attention for great work as opposed to what you are wearing.
3. Dress with comfort in mind. This applies to the fit of your clothing and also the comfort of your shoes. Comfort needs to trump fashion!
4. Be self-aware. Basic etiquette must accompany appropriate attire. The way you dress affects the perception of a company’s customers or business partners, it is important to maintain a standard of dress that creates a positive impression.
5. Take pride in your appearance. Proper grooming and professional appearance are important to gain not just a positive impression but also respect in the workplace.
6. Be careful of ‘casual Fridays’. Avoid ripped jeans or exposed skin. Instead, if you wish to wear jeans, opt for jeans with a dark wash (not faded). Definitely avoid leggings and other gym wear too.
Regardless of how your colleagues dress, you need to feel comfortable. ‘Dressing for the day’ may be a good concept to consider but most importantly, we need to remember that impressions are everything, both in the workplace and in front of customers.
The saying, we only get one chance to make a good first impression will always remain true.