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As many employees returned to the office for the first time this week, organisations may be thinking about how they adapt dress codes to reflect new hybrid working habits. Menna Chmielewski lists some of the key considerations.
Working from home for over a year, many of us have got used to our own, more flexible, standards – from when and how we work, to what we wear. But as we return to the office, have our expectations changed forever, and what does this mean for the office dress code?
A recent survey has shown that 28% of people in Britain wish to ditch formal office attire and even smart casual from the work dress code.
The BBC reported in January that clothes sales had slumped by 25% in the previous year and although demand increased for certain types of clothing, such as loungewear and pyjamas, the business fashion sector was one of the hardest hit.
Though office dress codes tend to differ by profession, office wear has been a relative constant over the years with some firms requiring "business professional" attire while others opt for “business casual" (permitting employees to lose the jacket and tie).
Dress down days
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, however, we saw a shift to a more relaxed environment with tech companies setting a new standard for everyday wardrobes and the implementation of "dress down Fridays".
Investment bank Goldman Sachs relaxed the dress code for its technology division in 2019 and later that year introduced a firm-wide flexible dress code, with employees asked to "dress in a manner that is consistent with your client's expectations".