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UK workers fed up with smart dress codes

8 August 2017

UK workers fed up with smart dress codesOver one-third of UK workers say that smart workplace dress codes are outdated, and half say work wear is likely to become more casual.

These are the findings of a new survey of 1,200 workers by CV-Library. The study found that:

  • 33% of UK workers said that businesses should ditch workplace dress codes;
  • a further 37% say that dressing smart at work has become outdated;
  • 82% feel that dress codes have changed over the years;
  • 47% believe that dress codes will become more casual and relaxed in the future.

When asked why they felt the traditional smart work dress code was outdated, respondents said it was because it can make people feel uncomfortable (28%), it doesn't allow people to show off their personality (24%) and because styles are always changing (18%).

However, most of those polled were in favour of keeping some kind of workplace dress code. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of workers said they appreciated having some guidelines on work wear. This figure rises to 67% amongst 18-24 year olds and 69% amongst 55-64 year olds. However, 43% of those aged 35 to 44 said businesses should not impose dress codes.

Of those that favoured a smarter dress code, the reasons included: looking more professional for customers (56%), feeling more professional (26%), keeping everyone equal (9%) and because work clothes should be separate to casual wear (7%). A further 2% said that dressing smart makes employees more productive.

"Dress codes mean different things to different people: some people prefer to dress smart, while others see it as a perk to be able to wear more casual clothes," said Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library.

"There continues to be a lot of debate around dress codes in the workplace and whether it's still a necessity to dress smart. Every workplace is different and the rules are very dependent on the industry or role that a person is working in."

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