In Warm Weather, Dress to Stay Cool at Work — But Not Too ‘Hot’
Even with a recent survey showing office dress code standards have relaxed greatly in just the last five years, the top two clothing-related complaints of senior managers are relevant to this week's steamy forecast: employees either dressing too casually, or showing too much skin.
Staffing firm OfficeTeam, which conducted the survey, revealed 50 percent of senior managers said their workers are now dressing much less formally than five years ago, while 58 percent of employees would ideally like to work at a company that has a business casual dress code, a casual one, or no dress code at all.
Dora Onyschak, a Woodbridge-based branch manager for OfficeTeam, said professional guidelines should still generally be followed in situations where casual dress is the rule.
"Setting dress code guidelines, while not being super formal about it, also allows employees to be happier," she said. "They get to show more of their personality."
OfficeTeam offers seven questions every worker should ask him or herself before stepping out the door:
- Does this follow company policy?
- Am I revealing too much?
- Is this distracting?
- Am I overdoing it?
- Do I feel confident?
- Will I offend anyone?
- Does it pass the final check?
Onyschak said there are some definite "don'ts" in picking out clothes to wear to the office. Those include "maybe a t-shirt with holes in it, or showing a little bit too much skin, maybe wearing flip-flops when those aren't really appropriate."
Yet while 47 percent of managers felt overly casual clothing was their employees' main problem, and another 32 percent said it was showing off too much, those managers are largely allowing other expressions of individuality in the workplace.
Visible tattoos or piercings were the most common violation among only 6 percent of managers; ungroomed facial hair, 5 percent; excessive accessories, 4 percent; and extreme hair colors or styles, 3 percent.
"In general, managers are a lot more relaxed and flexible in terms of people showcasing their own personalities," Onyschak said, adding that for most supervisors, an employee demonstrating a good work ethic and fitting into the culture of the company trump any clothing concerns.