Dress down Fridays on the up

Oct 21 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

The number of companies in London which allow their staff to dress casually in the office on Fridays has trebled in the last four years.

The majority of employees no longer have to wear suits five days a week, according to the London Chamber of Commerce's quarterly Monitor, with almost six out of ten firms saying their policy was to permit casual dress on Friday. This represents almost a three-fold increase in the space of four years.

The survey of attitudes among 256 firms in London also found that only a third of firms now insist on formal wear on the last day of the working week.

Seven out of ten firms also said that they no longer expected their male employees to wear a tie at all times in the office. Only a quarter stipulate that they should.

Four out of ten respondents even said they would not think less of a candidate who turned up for a job interview not wearing a suit. But beware: attitudes are predominantly traditional in this respect, with half those surveyed saying the opposite.

"These results show just how rapidly attitudes towards office dress codes are liberalising," said Colin Stanbridge, chief executive of London Chamber of Commerce.

"The suit and tie is becoming an increasingly rare sight on Fridays. And, with such a rapid pace of change, who is to say that in a few years' time it won't become extinct barring a few die-hards?"

"I personally dislike wearing formal dress and encourage my staff to dress down on Fridays and whenever else possible. People tend to work at their best when they feel most comfortable. And today I think the vast majority of people feel at their most comfortable when wearing casual dress."

"This view is clearly gaining ground within the business community. It also goes some way to explaining why pubs and bars in the City and other affluent areas are increasingly full of people who don't look as though they've just finished work. This trend will surely continue during the years ahead."