Should Your Business Keep its Casual Fridays?
In the 1990s, button down businesses began to adopt a trend that had been spreading across the work landscape since the 1980s. And that trend was introducing casual work dress to the workplace one day per week. Fridays were usually chosen and the term, Casual Friday, began to find its way into the business lexicon. Casual Fridays are still in action today, but some businesses have canceled this practice while others are considering doing the same. Before you decide to make a policy change, consider the reasons why you have Casual Fridays or Dress Down Days in the first place.
The sole reason why most Human Resources people have recommended a Casual Friday dress code is to boost employee morale. The thinking here is that employees could get a break from wearing suits, panty hose and the other trappings of a formal business setting and exchange these clothes for a more relaxed appearance.
For some, Casual Friday offered money savings as it became one less day that clothing had to be taken to the cleaners. Not an official employee benefit, per se, but a policy that is important to many employees.
A number of companies have come up with a novel idea to encourage Casual Fridays. The day might be used as a fundraiser where employees “pay” to dress down, by placing a token donation in a kitty and those funds set aside to help a local charity or a good cause.
Whatever funds were raised, the company would match that amount and a check written out and presented. That presentation might include having a representative of the charity appear at lunchtime or later in the afternoon with employees gathered around for the ceremony. Each week a new fundraiser would be announced and employee participation would also extend to charities and causes being recommended.
HR professionals have reported varying reactions to Casual Friday with some seeing employees slack off their work while others have reported no change. One reason why productivity may slip is that the company may not have articulated what Casual Friday is all about or the policy may have offered an unclear dress code.
Before considering a change to your company’s casual dress policy, meet with your management team to outline the problems as well as considering the appropriate response. Canceling Casual Friday can lead to negative repercussions with worker morale suffering and productivity falling with it. Correcting the problem can lead to a boost in productivity by outlining dress code specifics.
This may include listing what clothes can and cannot be worn. For instance, it may be acceptable for employees to wear slacks and a polo shirt with a belt, but no cut-offs, skorts or mini skirts. Closed toe shoes, not flip-flops, sandals or running shoes would be acceptable. Men would be expected to come to work clean shaven and women would maintain their usual makeup routine.
Your Human Resources team should maintain consistency when enacting or changing a dress code policy. For some businesses, such as a bank, tellers are permitted to dress down while management and customer service personnel wear business attire. Larger businesses may also have a policy where sales staff and customer service personnel must dress up at all times while back office personnel with no face to face customer contact are allowed to dress down. While there are differences in policy depending on employee responsibility, HR must clearly explain the company’s position and management back them up.
Philanthropy: Casual Fridays for a Cause — http://philanthropy.com/blogs/prospecting/casual-fridays-for-a-cause/19287
Career Builder: Has Casual Friday Become Too Casual? — http://www.careerbuilder.com/Article/CB-1325-The-Workplace-Has-Casual-Friday-Become-Too-casual/?ArticleID=1325&cbRecursionCnt=1&cbsid=c5dc0172ee264d5ab3b2ca1688cef98c-3258