Friday, March 28, 2008

Dress to impress at workplace

The dressing protocol is not limited to any single industry but has spread its wings all over. Different sectors have different rules for their male employees to dress. The reasons given for the same may be ranging culture, atmosphere to ethics. So what is this right dressing? It is true that dressing styles vary according to industry to reflect the culture and work ethics of the work place. Since the atmosphere/outlook within certain business communities, for example an ad agency tends to be informal the attire of the employees reflects this outlook. On the other hand the protocol of corporate dressing in the sectors such as IT, hospitality, banking, etc, is more conservative as it reflects directly on employee professionalism.
But, the advertising industry in India is one of those industries that do not promote a dressing culture. They believe that dressing casually enhances their creativity. Being in a creative field, people in advertising believe they have the passport to dress more casually at least in India unlike the west where Account Management people dress formally to office. At Ogilvy they expect their employees to dress in a presentable manner- there is no official dress code for men or women but it’s an unwritten rule to dress in a presentable fashion.
So, that means that the attire of an employee of a particular industry does speak about the company’s work ethic, image and culture. It adds an impression of professionalism, intelligence, and commitment that enhances the overall credibility of the company. Similarly, non-adherence to a dress code can send out a message of discredit and incompetence. People are one of the strongest expressions a company can have of its corporate brand. Impressions which people create do say a lot about the company’s work ethics or corporate brand image. And, dressing style has a very high weight age in the first impression that an individual can create.
Casual Fridays is catching up in the corporate circles. Many organizations have come up with the unique tool referred as “Friday dressing” to motivate and encourage associates in feeling at home at their workplace. They feel this increases the productivity and makes them comfortable with the organization and colleagues. One company HR manager says they have casual Fridays but a majority of their associates wear business casuals. Today, across the industry it is important that the same company is able to make workplaces associate-friendly in every way. At the same time they also need to build a professional environment that conveys the right message to clients. It is a delicate balance, but the company was able to manage to walk that line very successfully admits their Head, Human Resources. Over years, we have also come to follow Friday dressing-a day when members “can let their hair down” and be more casually dressed than other days.
Many organizations believe that the younger employee today is more fashion conscious and is experimenting a lot with style even in formal wear. The companies are also waking up to this fact and are flooding the market with formal yet fashionable attire. With the increase in number of young professionals there is a bigger demand of formal shoes with fashion elements. The age old interpretation would be a black and brown shoe. But for fashion element manufacturing companies, it means not just black or brown footwear you wear to office or formal functions, but equally fashionable and comfortable products.
Metrosexuality is another trend which is catching up fast in the corporate sector. In earlier days it was unthinkable to have men in offices with perfectly manicured hands, freshly scrubbed faces so on and so forth; right now however the scene has changed and it is perfectly acceptable to have such ‘liberated’ men within the workplace. Improved fitness amongst men as also metrosexual role models have caused men to focus much more on their dressing style.
Dressing perfectly to work everyday today is important for the complete look and feel for the employees and the organization. So, the next time you buy that business shirt, make sure that it fits for your office culture and remember, dress to impress.


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