There is plenty of symbolic meaning attached to certain attire and the clothes we wear can change our frame of mind without us even realising it. So, is it wise that in the modern day more and more offices in London are allowing employees to wear the standard jean and T-shirt to work?
The Symbolic Meaning of our Clothing
Wearing the same clothing to the office as that worn on weekends can blur the lines between work and play. It means many people subconsciously struggle to differentiate between them at work and them relaxing at home. For example a suit has a symbolic meaning; we associate it with professional and knowledgeable business men and women and the same applies even when it is viewed upon our own person.
Wearing a ‘uniform’ as such can make us feel so much more motivated and driven. It prompts us to take on our roles with more conviction than if we weren’t wearing the right attire. In a similar fashion, theatre actors may embrace their character more effortlessly once they’re in costume.
The same theory applies for winding down from work when you arrive home. Removing your work attire can help you to switch off from the earlier day. Changing in to your ‘home’ clothes provides a definitive action which symbolises having left your offices in London; this then allows your mind to shut down more easily.
Dress Codes in Offices in London
Here at Londonoffices we operate a business casual dress code. Our CEO Chris Meredith describes the decision by saying, ‘Whilst the majority of our contact with clients is carried out over the phone we have always felt it is important for our consultants to have the right mind set. Defining business casual can be challenging but I always say to the team, dress as if a client was coming in to meet with you face to face. Flip flops, t-shirts and ripped jeans would likely make a client feel uncomfortable so they are out.’
Dressing up, even just a little can boost our overall mood which consequently boots confidence. This in turn makes us happier and more likely to succeed at whatever our offices in London present that day. When we’re not feeling good we wear loose, comfortable clothing which mimics our mood. However, when we are celebrating we tend to dress to reflect this with sparkles or sharp dress shoes and blazers.
We cannot however see offices in London returning to all corporate dress codes or encouraging employees to come to work in their Saturday night get up, and indeed we don’t suggest they do. Instead, a simple shift in casual clothing. For example only wearing black jeans instead of casual blue or adding a simple accessory like a smart watch. These things will then become associated specifically with work or formal dress creating a simple, effective shift in mind set.
Researchers, Adam Galinsky and Hajo Adam created a study in which participants were asked to wear a lab coat whilst performing tasks that required a high level of attention. The purpose of the study was to determine whether participant accuracy would be greater when wearing the coat than when wearing their own choice of clothing; determining whether the status of the coat would also make a difference in performance was another feature of the study.
The research, published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, revealed that in fact wearing the lab coat did increase sustained attention and even more so when it was described as a doctor’s coat rather than a painter’s coat. This demonstrates that what we wear can influence mind set and in turn productivity and performance within offices in London.
Of course, there are many individual factors which affect people’s attitudes when it comes to the way they dress; gender, age and occupation are just some of the variables which will cause different results in different people.
The Individual and Remaining Fair
It is very well argued that the clothing people wear is a valuable reflection of their personality. There is therefore much support for the theory that allowing individuals to dress in a way which makes them comfortable is the best way to achieve full productivity from employees throughout offices in London.
It is also important that businesses remain fair whilst trying to enforce a dress code. Managers within London offices should consider comfort and practicality before enforcing certain attire.
Back in May of 2016 uproar ensued when employee Nicola Thorp found herself having strict uniform rules enforced upon her. The London finance firm that she was working for temporarily, insisted on the wearing of high heels to the office. After taking to social media to share her outrage in being sent home for refusing to wear 2-4 inches heels, the support she received from other women concerning the issue prompted a petition. The petition reached the 10,000 signatures required, leading to the issue being discussed in parliament.
The topic of appropriate office wear receives mixed and varied reviews, differing greatly from business to business and location to location. One thing which is obvious however is the shift in work wear trends throughout offices in London in recent years. For better or for worse we’ll let you decide.
Londonoffices.com are specialists in London office space. We provide a free, personal service for companies seeking a London based home for their business. If you are currently looking for the ideal London office space call our team on +44 (0) 203 826 8139.