What an interesting question! And what better way to get some
opinions about this issue than to hear from actual employees!
According to a poll by CareerThink, respondents do not think that
dressing up actually affects productivity
From "Dressing Up for Work Makes You More Professional, But NOT More Productive."
"Dressing up for work doesn?t make you more productive on the job -
but it does make you look and act more professional, and it upgrades
your image in the eyes of others. At least, that?s what you, our
readers, told us when you responded to our dress code poll in our
August, 2004 issue of CareerThink. What we learned was that today?s
dress codes run the gamut between super-casual "one step above
jammies" to so strict that female employees must have their hemlines
CareerThink Poll results
What?s your current dress code?
67% business casual
8% suits for men, suits or dresses for women
9% no dress code
6% grungy as you want
Does dressing up for work make you more productive?
54% believe dressing up has no effect on your productivity
41% believe it makes you more productive
5% believe it makes you less productive
What should your company do about the current dress code?
34% would like your company?s dress code tightened up
28% would like your company to get rid of the dress code entirely
24% would like to see a more casual dress code
15% would like a company "uniform" that makes it easy for employees to know
what?s appropriate to wear
Read respondent comments..............
It is interesting to note that even many employees, when polled, feel
that professional attire projects an aura of professionalism and
indicates that the employee takes their job more seriously.
From "Attire closely linked to professional image." The Career News. Feb. 2005
"Eighty-one percent of employees polled said a person's work attire
affects his or her professional image; nearly half (46 percent) of
respondents said wardrobe significantly impacts how someone is
perceived on the job."
"The survey was conducted by an independent research firm for
OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service, and includes responses from
972 men and women 18 years of age or older and employed in
professional environments. "People tend to form immediate impressions
of each other," said Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam.
"Dressing professionally provides instant credibility and signals to
clients, customers and colleagues that they're working with someone
who takes the position seriously."
Some reader comments on dress code and work productivity can be found
on the following site:
From "Dressing down: Most readers back office dress codes." Boston
Business Journal - July 2006
"We asked readers of our daily e-mail update and our Web site,
BostonBusinessJournal.com, whether dress codes make a difference in
employee performance and productivity."
"A more professional look will boost confidence and does create an
atmosphere of respect. No jeans!"
"My company allows casual dress (jeans) every day unless we have
meetings. Morale and productivity are high, and the casual dress is an
important part of our fun yet professional atmosphere."
"Look good, feel good, do good work."
"For those who need to think and write (you should know this), being
comfortable makes a big difference. Dress codes detract from
"Dress for the position you aspire to."
"My office has a casual dress code policy. I think people, including
myself, get more done when dressed comfortably as opposed to wearing
high heels, nylons and a dress."
"I worked in an office with an informal dress code five days a week
and the work ethic and atmosphere was terrible."
Read more comments.............
Bizwomen.com has a forum topic on this issue as well.
Q. "Now that we know what you have to wear to work, tell us how you
feel about that. Do you love putting on a suit everyday and think
that those who don't must be lazy and unprofessional? Or do all you
casual folks think you are just as productive as your suit
counterparts? Do you think that dress affects the productivity of the
See the replies:
Some more thoughts can be found in the answers to the following
question on the International Customer Management Institute website.
"I am researching the relationship between dress code and call
quality/productivity. I work in a large incoming call center that
originally required shirt and tie for men and pants or dresses with
pantyhose for women. We have since relaxed the policy, no longer
requiring ties and pantyhose. We currently have a long list of what to
wear and not to wear Monday - Thursday with very casual dress Friday,
Saturday and Sunday. This has caused great difficulty in fair and
equal enforcement of current policy. Has anyone had any experience
with this issue?"
Read the replies:
For example: RESPONSE #4 - "Oh, yes. Relaxed dress codes, however
difficult, do have a positive effect on morale. Our dress code has
been relaxed since last summer and we have seen increased business and
therefore increased productivity...."
From "Is Business Casual Becoming a Casualty Of Current Conservative Work Climate?"
"A 2003 survey by No Nonsense--purveyor of pantyhose, a formal wear
staple--found that 69 percent of surveyed employees said they would
react favorably if their companies required more professional
workplace attire. According to the poll, 70 percent of executives said
that workplace dress affects an employee's productivity, while 63
percent said that wearing more professional clothing makes employees
advance faster in their careers."
Read more about establishing a dress code and the trend away from casual....
For an actual research study on this issue, see:
"The Effect of Casual Dress on Performance in the Workplace," by Sarah
Maloney Hughes. The Master?s College
Summary - "The results of the Chi-square statistical test suggest that
there is an effect on the performance in the workplace because of
casual dress, that casual dress has equally positive and negative
effects, and that dress codes may or may not be necessary for
professional performance. The results also suggest that casual dress
does not promote task efficiency, that work-study students may or may
not perform the same regardless of dress formality, and that quality
work performance has not decreased since the relaxing of the campus
Also read "What Does Business Casual Mean Anyway?; Job Seekers and
Employees Perplexed When it Comes to Workplace Fashion, According to
Yahoo! HotJobs and Banana Republic Survey."
It is my own opinion that dressing up on a particular day of the week
can invoke an internal feeling of professionalism that one simply does
not feel in jeans and a t-shirt! However, I also believe it can create
a certain degree of stress, especially if an employee has chosen a
particular job based on an the atomoshphere of casual dress. For this
reason, I think it might be wise to focus the "dress up day" around a
particular type and color of attire. Given a narrower choice, those
who do not have a dressier wardrobe can still manage to find a few
outfits that fit the bill while retaining a relaxed disposition on the
job (and not stressing about how they are going to get through the day
with a tight tie around their neck or high heels that leave their toes
do dress up Fridays affect morale?
does professional dress affect employee productivity?