One of the most defining aspects of a company’s culture is the style of dress. Just ten years ago in the construction industry you were expected to don a suit and tie when in a client-facing environment. The technology industry has experienced a remarkable surge, growing from a valuation of £1.5 billion in 2010 to a worth of over £10 billion. This significant expansion in the tech sector has extended its reach into the construction market, prompting substantial investments in technology within the construction industry like never before.
A notable discrepancy between these two industries arises when it comes to attire. For decades, professionals in the construction industry have been accustomed to wearing cufflinks as part of their formal attire. However, in contrast, emerging tech companies prefer a more casual dress code, believing that it fosters a sense of productivity among their employees.
Does What We Wear To Work Impact Our Productivity?
My initial gut instinct was that a more casual dress code would make people less productive. From my personal experience, dressing formally for work helps you mentally separate work and leisure time, which is beneficial for anyone who needs to create stronger boundaries to improve their work-life balance.
We posted a survey on our LinkedIn page asking if clothing impacts productivity. The results were evenly divided, with a 50/50 split. Meaning, that the impact of clothing on productivity depends on the person.
In industries where a suit is the norm for client meetings, deviating from this expectation may create a feeling of distrust and unprofessionalism. Which could lead to you missing out on business for something as simple as wearing trainers as opposed to smart shoes. Dressing appropriately for the occasion is crucial, particularly when meeting with clients. While a casual dress code may be acceptable within an office, it is essential to align with the client's expectations and dress smartly. This is a nonverbal way to convey a sense of professionalism and unity emphasising your commitment to conducting business.
First impressions still, and will, always count. If you’re in a client-facing role, it’s important to look professional and approachable. As long as what you’re wearing aligns with the company culture and you feel productive enough to work, wear what you want in the office. The change in productivity is due to people not believing they’re on the same page about work. The choice of attire should vary based on the occasion and the people you'll be meeting with, dressing appropriately is key.