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The Importance of a Business Casual Dress Code

Business dress code policies are quickly becoming a “hot topic” for Management and HR Departments.  EctoHR, Inc. receives many questions on this subject. What is the standard dress code in an office with no customer interaction? What about when clients are present? What is acceptable on “casual Friday”?

Organizations should always consider their culture and industry when developing a dress code. Additionally, coaching staff to dress for the “business of the day” helps guide employees in what to wear. There is, of course, the need to be prepared for unexpected changes, so if an employee is in a role that may quickly transition from a physical or casual atmosphere (warehouse) to a client-facing role (surprise meeting with a potential new customer!), keeping a change of clothes on-hand is a good practice.

Internally at EctoHR, the staff is typically dressed in professional business casual clothing, helping support the image of professional consultants, yet avoiding too much formality in the way of suits and ties.  No offense meant to those wearing a suit today, of course!  The typical guidelines at EctoHR include slacks, khakis, dress shirts and professional, closed-toed shoes. This policy does lax a bit in the summer, but the culture is such that respectful and open dialogue is encouraged when an employee has pushed the dress code outside of what is considered acceptable.

Casual Fridays are a benefit that many companies provide employees, and are also one of the things that most often cause Dress Code Grief!  It is common to see employees wearing jeans on a Friday, but is important to continue to reflect a professional image by sticking to dark washed jeans with no holes or tatters, avoiding flip flops or sandals, and skipping tee shirts with big logos, inappropriate sayings, or other casual wear.

Communicate Policy Consequences

Expectations and consequences should be clearly communicated to workers, especially in the employee handbook. If there is a violation, employers should address it quickly and privately so as to avoid causing any embarrassment for the employee. When it comes to casual Friday, employers should communicate that the change in dress code will only be allowed on Friday, should not creep into Wednesday and Thursday, and is a privilege that may be lost if there are continual challenges keeping employees in-line with the guidelines.



EctoHR is here for you

A well thought out dress code policy allows employees to work comfortably while projecting a professional image, yet remains flexible enough to accommodate different work situations.

EctoHR can help your company and its employees navigate all aspects of Human Resources, including dress code challenges.  Contact a team member at EctoHR by calling 810.534.0170, or by email to


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