All You Need To Know About Casual Friday: Its Benefits And Implementation
Friday marks the beginning of the weekend, the day employees anticipate the most after a long week. So much so that the last working day is now referred to as "Friyay" as a mark of celebration. This is where Casual Friday comes into the picture.
Introducing the concept of Casual Friday will be the ideal way to kick off your employees’ weekend. Giving them a head start to a fun filled weekend.
The History Behind Casual Friday
We've gone from business people dressing in suits to people delivering keynote speeches in sweatpants. This lack of formality in work attire can be traced back to the 1960s.
The Hawaiian shirt, also known as the "Aloha shirt," became a standard part of work attire in Hawaii in 1962. This was called "Operation Liberation," as they said it would free people from having to wear suits in the Hawaiian heat.
During the dot-com boom of the early 1990s, the practice of Aloha Friday spread to the mainland. This practice encountered many setbacks as HRs felt that Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops were taking it too far. At this time, Dockers steps in.
Dockers created a guide to business casualwear in 1992 and sent it to over 25,000 HR managers. This led to a drastic shift away from the traditional dress code toward a more modern and laid-back professional style.
Benefits Of Casual Friday At Work
1. Opportunity for personal expression of style
Everyone has a sense of style that they use to express their individuality. Casual Friday relaxes the dress code restrictions in the workplace, allowing the employees to showcase their personalities. It also contributes to a culture in which people are exposed to newer styles, figures of expression, and personalities. It promotes tolerance, inclusivity, and can be an excellent source of learning.
2. Boosts morale
Employees view dress-down days or casual Fridays as benefits after a long week. It is an employee benifit that does not need any investment but can help foster a sense of community and allow for more personal expression.
3. Helps socialize
Dressing down helps employees interact with people they would not normally interact with, breaking down the professional hierarchy. Formal attire reminds us to maintain the status quo and be strictly professional. However, suppose that barrier is brought down even for a day. In that case, it allows the employees to interact more freely, regardless of their position.
4. A great indication of company culture
Company culture has become a great indicator when it comes to choosing workplaces. Implementing a casual work day can help break the monotony and make work more fun. Having casual Friday at the end of the week also helps employees celebrate the weekend without sacrificing their focus on work.
People, in general, are more comfortable in casual attire than formal. Dressing down will convert the physical comfort experienced by the employees into more productivity.
This is especially true for organizations with offices in hotter climates. These organizations may implement a dress-down season to make employees more comfortable.
6. Trust building
The dress code is specified in an organization to maintain order and the formality of the occasion.
Allowing employees a day of self-expression through their choice of attire is a sign of trust. It shows the organization's faith in its workers to maintain decorum without a strict dress code.
It works as a great trust-building activity as the employees are now responsible for maintaining civility in the workplace.
7. Attracts young employees
The upcoming working demographic is made up of millennials and Gen Zs. And they tend to gravitate toward organizations that offer company perks and positive company culture. When they see the company's values lining up with their own, they are more likely to opt for the organization.
8. Saves Energy
Permanent summer dress code relaxation for employees reduces carbon emissions and saves money on air conditioning. The Cool Biz Campaign, initiated by the Japanese Ministry of the Environment in 2005, is a perfect example of this.
The Ministry estimated that the campaign resulted in a 460,000-ton reduction in CO2 emission, the equivalent volume of CO2 emitted by about 1 million households for one month.
Things To Keep In Mind When Introducing Casual Friday
1. Clarify company expectations
The wide variety of casual clothing available makes it necessary to set clear guidelines for casual Friday. Offer guidelines for what is appropriate and acceptable in your organization like jeans and a nice blouse or polo shirts.
2. Organization appropriate
Not every organization has a similar work culture; some might be more formal than others. While implementing perks such as casual Friday, the company culture should be kept in mind. What is acceptable in some organizations may not be so in others.
In industries like healthcare, consulting and law enforcement uniforms play a crucial role. These uniforms are a symbol of trust and dependability that cannot be messed with.
3. Consider the clients
If you have frequent dealings with clients, it's important to maintain a high standard of dress and grooming. This will make you more appealing to prospective employees and make your clients feel more comfortable.
4. Influence of climate
It is always advisable to dress while keeping the thermostat in mind. Forcing employees to dress in suits or other formal wear that makes them uncomfortable leads to decline in productivity. However, getting them too comfortable also has the same effect.
Allow your employees to dress in more climate appropriate attires while maintaining the office dress code standards.
5. Generation difference
Companies that have cross generational employees must deal with different concepts of casual attire. Older generations might choose to dress more formally, while younger generations are more likely to dress casually.
This generational difference must be kept in mind while forming a guideline to Casual Friday to reach a happy medium.
Casual Fridays are a way to let your employees relax a little and express themselves beyond the stiff suit. How casual one can be depends on the formality of the organization. It might be a good way to slowly ease your workplace into a more casual setting.
Attire is a very important part of self-presentation. Your attire can make you look dependable and sincere or shabby and unreliable. When you're at work, the way you dress is important because you're not just representing yourself, but also your organization.