UK workers ditch suits for casualwear but progress is still slow - survey

The jacket and tie is becoming more of a rarity for men in British offices as Casual Friday extends into Casual Every Day, but it retains its place in many offices despite the majority of Britons thinking the look has had its day. And workers are even starting to kick against ‘smart-casual’ as the next big step in demolishing formalwear’s dominance.

Suits or tees? The UK office debate continues

That’s especially the case in extreme temperatures. Most respondents in a survey said that men should be able to dress down in those offices that retain stricter dress codes and particularly in very hot weather, such as the UK saw last month.

The information comes from a survey by online job site CareerBuilder which found that 49% of Britons now choose smart-casual rather than formalwear for work.

It spoke to 2,000 adults and found two-thirds of them think men should be able to wear shorts to the workplace in hot weather, but that only a quarter of workplaces have a dress code that caters for extreme heat.

CareerBuilder UK’s Elsa Thumerel said: “We’ve seen a general trend across industries to move to a smart-casual approach to workwear. With changing views on dress codes, it’s important to keep staff welfare front of mind, especially in times like the recent heat or difficult commutes.”

Half of the British workforce say they currently turn up for work in smart trousers and a dress shirt, having ditched the jacket and tie, but feel they would do a better job if they could wear more comfortable clothes like T-shirts and jeans.

Thumerel added that “the survey has highlighted a difference in opinions between employees and their managers when it comes to dress code. People who held senior management positions are more likely than the general population to want a formal dress code. But 76% of people who wear business attire to work want to relax their wardrobe.”

It’s interesting that it’s not only age that affects people’s view of how formally men should dress, but gender too. Women are more likely to want a formal dress codes than their male counterparts and men are more likely than women to say they would feel more productive in their own choice of clothing. Meanwhile older workers who’ve spent their lives wearing a jacket and tie seem to be comfortable with that and 94% of people aged 45 and over said they’re happy with their work dress code, which is higher than younger generations.

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