Dress code policies usually come to the forefront in the summer months with the return of flip flops, summer dresses, and shorts. Do you maintain a formal dress code? Do you make changes to your policy based on current fashion trends? Are dress code policies now becoming more lenient to attract and retain employees, especially Millennials?
With summer quickly approaching, it is time for managers to remind their staff of the company’s dress code policy. Forty-eight percent of respondents in our 2015 Miscellaneous Benefits & Pay Practices Survey have a formal written appearance/dress code policy. This is down from the 51 percent reported in the 2009 Survey. Also down from the 2009 Survey is the percentage of employers allowing casual dress one day/week (31 percent in 2009; 29 percent in 2015). On the reverse side, employers that allow casual dress every day is up (18 percent in 2009; 21 percent in 2015).
What is the definition of casual dress? This can range from athletic wear to sports coats! Your definition should be based on what is appropriate for your organization. Twenty-nine percent of organizations allow business casual every day, but what defines “business casual”? The above survey data indicate a shift to a more casual workplace as the everyday casual dress policy versus one day a week has become more prevalent since 2009. If it’s time for you to add or update an appearance/dress code policy, refer to MSEC’s Employment Handbook Planning Guide for sample language and legal considerations.