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    Dressing for success post-pandemic: is smart casual here to stay?

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    Specialist recruiter Randstad has revealed that three in ten (28%) of Brits want to ditch smart casual or formal office dress codes once they’re back in the office.

    In a poll of 586 jobseekers, 48 per cent would like to keep the pre-pandemic smart casual dress code, while nearly a quarter (24%) would like to ditch the video-call friendly loungewear for the opportunity to suit-up for that authentic ‘back to work’ feeling.

    Keeping those working comfort levels high, 20 per cent are hoping to don ‘relaxed’ clothing, and eight per cent want dress codes thrown out completely, replacing suits and dresses with shorts and flip-flops.

    While dress codes alter by profession, some employers may choose to revert back to pre-pandemic clothing rules. Dressing for success has been a notion that the pandemic has diluted, as the nation worked from their bedrooms, living rooms and makeshift office set-ups.

    Longing for loungwear?
    With the casual Friday feeling being standard practice for many homeworkers throughout the entire week, the idea of getting ‘dressed for work’ is perceived as tiring or unnecessary as commuting a long distance to a physical meeting, according to the new findings.

    Last year, loungewear and leggings sales spiked by 1,303 per cent, according to data by John Lewis, as the lines between loungewear and work wear slowly began to blur. For the 28 per cent who are keen to keep it comfy going forward and prevent cashing out on the office-friendly clothes that typically aren’t as comfortable, they may be in luck.

    Comparing attitudes to workplace attire with colleagues across the water, a recent Randstad US survey discovered that a third (33%) would turn down a job offer or quit their existing job if they were required to wear formal business attire. The same percentage would go as far as to say that they would choose a company with an informal dress code over a $5,000 (£3,600) increase in salary.

    Randstad HR operations director Laurel Dines said: “While there are proven benefits to more smart or formal office dress codes, such as enhancing credibility, boosting confidence and visual uniformity, we’ve found that employees tend to associate how they dress with a certain mindset that allows them to work more productively. For example, some of our teams hold dress-themed sales days – something we’ve found really boosts productivity, when an element of fun and a central theme is injected into the working day.

    “Dressing for success post-pandemic will have different meanings based on the individual and industry. At Randstad we want to concentrate on the more impactful drivers we know employees want when choosing an employer – such as work-life balance, training, job security and pleasant work atmosphere.”

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    Lisa Carter

    All stories by: Lisa Carter