From Casual Fridays to Casual Everydays: Should Your Firm Go Casual?

by Thom Tracy

2 min read

Accounting businesses tend to lean toward strict dress codes for employees in the office. Whenever customer finance plays into the equation, conveying the proper image becomes quite important. While casual Fridays have emerged as a norm in many industries, some financial services firms limit relaxed policies to business casual. Employees must leave their jeans, T-shirts, and sneakers at home in favor of khakis, casual shoes, and collared shirts and blouses. Productivity can often increase by allowing casual clothing each day in the workplace. Many office workers associate physical comfort with the ability to efficiently perform daily duties. You may want to examine the pros and cons of adopting casual dress on a permanent basis.

Who Are Your Clients?

Look at the makeup of your client base to help determine the direction of your company dress code. If you mostly deal with personal taxpayers who come from white-collar professions, you may want to stick with more traditional business attire. Psychologically, the clients of doctors, lawyers, and financial service professionals equate trust with appearance. You and your staff may be great at your jobs, but shorts and flip-flops may not inspire any measure of client confidence. On the other hand, a large percentage of your revenues may come from creative businesses or blue-collar individual clients. In advertising agencies and graphic design companies, management rarely requires employees to don business attire. So, you may want to align your own dress policy with those of your major customers. Owners who create a casual culture likely feel comfortable doing business with firms that take a similar approach. Likewise, plumbing or electrical contractors may connect with your employees if they dress less formally.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Casual Dress Codes

Under the right circumstances, casual dress codes work fine for employees and the customers they serve, but you can’t let the policy go unrestricted. One of the drawbacks to a relaxed dress code involves inappropriate garb. Include guidelines in your employee handbook that define what should and should not be worn to the office. Ripped or torn clothing and T-shirts that feature offensive messages or images should never be allowed in the workplace. A laid-back attitude toward office apparel can lead to improved employee morale. In turn, happier workers might do their best job when in a positive state of mind. As a result, you might find that casual dress leads to improved focus and accuracy. That efficiency across the organization leads to a healthier bottom line for your business. Relaxing the dress code may be a good fit for your accounting practice. Before you open the door to a more casual dress code, carefully analyze the composition of your business, especially when it comes to customer interaction. Loyal clients don’t come easy, and replacing them costs significant time and money. Don’t make a move that might alienate the lifeblood of your company.

References & Resources

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