What will happen to dress codes in the post-pandemic era?

Walter Neff from the 1944 film Double indemnity is the insurance agent par excellence. Attached to the desk and dressed in a suit, tie and hat, Neff is a symbol of a bygone era.

Times have changed, so have dress codes. “More and more companies began to adopt a casual model rather than office attire, where men were required to wear business suits,” said Amber Clayton, director of the knowledge center at the Society for Human. Resource Management (SHRM). “It has happened over the years where he has become a little more relaxed with dress codes – even more during the pandemic.”

In fact, according to a 2020 SHRM survey of 336 U.S. employees who worked remotely, 60% said they wore casual or athletic clothing (for example, sweatpants) during their workday; only 6% said they wore work clothes.

But will yoga or sweatpants make an appearance in the office after the pandemic? Not likely. Aviva’s dress code policy is simple: “Wear what you think makes sense,” said Danny Davies, director of human resources.

The reasons of the insurer are twofold. “No. 1, we employ smart people. So what’s the point in employing smart people and then telling them how to think?”

# 2: “It’s better if people can put their effort into being themselves and doing their jobs, rather than worrying about looking like some kind of insurance industry clone.” “

Mitchell & Whale brokerage has a similar policy – and possibly the shortest in Canada. It is “stay chic”, the slogan of Ron Burgundy of Presenter. “This is our really fun way of telling the team that as long as you don’t wear anything inappropriate or offensive to someone else, we’ll support you in whatever you wear and support you for that. you are, ”said Jenna Minchella, head of people and culture at Mitchell & Whale.

For Aviva and Mitchell & Whale, a less formal dress code is part of providing a great customer experience and achieving business goals.

Both companies had their dress codes in place before COVID, and policies are unlikely to change after COVID. “If anything, we’ve gotten more used to people being themselves and being more comfortable,” Davies said.

Davies gave this advice to insurers and brokers with a more formal dress code: and in terms of trying to get people to not be themselves, ”he said. “Just let people be themselves. “

But whether your dress code is a pithy phrase or a one-page page, “it’s important that employers develop a policy so that employees know what is expected of them,” Clayton said.

This is especially crucial now that more and more employers will adopt a hybrid working model. A Mercer 2020/21 survey indicated that 87% of U.S. employers said they would embrace more flexibility after the pandemic with a hybrid work model. “If employers allow employees to continue working from home, it is more than likely that they will adjust these [dress code] policies, ”she said.

“If they haven’t already, [employers] are reviewing their policies and making changes based on the new way of working.

Featured Image by iStock.com/andresr

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