One third of UK workers urge businesses to ditch corporate dress codes

One third of UK workers say that businesses should ditch dress codes in the workplace, with many saying it is outdated.

One third (33.5 per cent) of UK workers say businesses should ditch dress codes in the workplace, with a further 36.9 per cent believing that dressing smart at work has become outdated. This is according to the latest data from CV-Library.

The survey, which questioned 1,200 UK workers on their views surrounding dress codes within the workplace, finds 82.5 per cent feel that codes have changed over the years, with nearly half (46.8 per cent) believing that office-wear will become more casual and relaxed in the future.

Key findings

Nearly two thirds (65.5 per cent) of workers enjoy wearing office clothes, with this figure rising to 67.3 per cent amongst 18-24 year olds and 69.1 per cent amongst 55-64 year olds.

But, employees aged between 35 and 44 are the most likely to think that businesses should ditch office clothes (42.7 per cent).

Furthermore, when asked why they felt the traditional smart work code was outdated, respondents cited that this was because it can make people feel uncomfortable (27.8 per cent), it doesn’t allow people to show off their personality (23.9 per cent) and because styles are always changing (18.3 per cent).

Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library comments, ‘There continues to be a lot of debate around dress codes in the workplace and whether it’s still a necessity to dress smart. 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. We now have more flexibility in what we can wear to work and if your workplace has the option, then stick to what feels best for you!’

That said, of those that favour a smarter dress code, the reasoning behind this included: looking more professional for customers (55.6 per cent), feeling more professional (25.9 per cent), keeping everyone equal (8.9 per cent) and because work clothes should be separate to casual wear (7.2 per cent). A further 2.4 per cent say that dressing smart makes employees more productive.

Biggins continues, ‘Every workplace is different and the rules are very dependent on the industry or role that a person is working in. There is no real evidence to suggest that there is a link between standards of behaviour and codes, though I personally believe that you should always dress smart if you’re in an external facing role or meeting with a client, customer or supplier.’

Further reading on dress code

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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