Dress down or casual Fridays is what many offices up and down the land instigate to give their staff the opportunity to wear something a little more casual at the end of a week. For some, Friday marks the beginning of the weekend, but does dressing casually mean that some staff also adopt a more casual approach to their work?
For me, dress down Fridays at work is brilliant because it means I only have to iron four shirts at the weekend, in preparation for the week ahead in the office.
But in a previous company I worked in, dress down Fridays came and went over a controversial 6 month period. Senior management at this particular business initially saw dress down Fridays as a reward, but before long felt that they had lost control and decided that reintroducing business attire was the solution to a problem that didn’t really exist.
I haven’t got copies of all the emails that detailed this particular saga, so I have paraphrased a little below, but you can see how the story unfolded:
Emails regarding a change in HR policies: Dress Down Fridays:
Week 1: Dress Down Friday Email No. 1
Effective this week, the company has decided that Fridays will now be dress down Fridays. Employees are free to dress in the casual attire of their choice.
Week 3: Dress Down Friday Email No. 2
Spandex and leather micro-miniskirts are not appropriate attire for Dress Down Fridays. Neither are string ties, rodeo belt buckles, t-shirts with profanity on them, football shirts, ripped jeans, shorts, vests, tracksuits or moccasins.
Week 6: Dress Down Friday Email No. 3
Can we remind all staff that Dress Down Fridays refers to the dress only, not the attitude. When planning Friday’s wardrobe, remember image is a key to our success.
Week 8: Dress Down Friday Email No. 4
A seminar on how to dress for Dress Down Fridays will be held at 4 p.m. at Friday in the cafeteria. A demonstration fashion show will follow. Attendance is mandatory.
Week 9: Dress Down Friday Email No. 5
As an outcome of Friday’s seminar, a 14-member Dress Down Fridays project group has been appointed to prepare guidelines for proper Dress Down Friday’s dress.
Week 14: Dress Down Friday Email No. 6
The Dress Down Fridays project group has now completed a 30-page manual entitled “Relaxing Dress without Relaxing Company Standards.”
A copy has been distributed to every employee. Please review the chapter “You Are What You Wear” and consult the “home casual” versus “business casual” checklist before leaving for work each Friday.
If you have doubts about the appropriateness of an item of clothing, contact your DDFPG representative before 7 a.m. on Friday.
Week 18: Dress Down Friday Email No. 7
Our Employee Assistant Plan (EAP) has now been expanded to provide support for those employees who may be having difficulty adjusting to Dress Down Fridays.
Week 20: Dress Down Friday Email No. 8
On Dress Down Fridays will all staff please consider the different staff attire when adjusting the air conditioning levels?
Week 22: Dress Down Friday Email No. 9
It has come to our attention that some teams have taken upon themselves to have their own worst dressed competition on Dress Down Fridays.
Can we direct all staff to read chapter 4 of the “Relaxing Dress without Relaxing Company Standards” manual which points out that casual dress should not be competitive.
Week 25: Dress Down Friday Email No. 10
Due to budget cuts in the HR Department we are no longer able to effectively support or manage Dress Down Fridays. Dress Down Fridays will therefore be discontinued, effective immediately.
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