This week’s question: Workplaces are relaxing dress codes, raising fears that offices could become less professional and productive. Does your organization have a casual dress policy in place? How has it affected your office?
I believe that dress codes impact all business environments but some professions like the arts, computer programming and marketing are better suited, pun intended, for more casual attire. While others; like banking, law and medicine, do not lend themselves to relaxed attire. Professional wardrobe is required to establish a level of trust and confidence necessary when you are dealing with highly personal issues like health and wealth.
Alejandro Badia, orthopedic surgeon and founder, OrthoNOW
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Our Miami office has a Friday casual dress policy, and we also have frequent casual dress Wednesdays that serve as charitable fundraisers. These policies are good for office morale, while at the same time the fundraisers help to support local community organizations. We do have guidelines to encourage people to dress in a casual manner that is still appropriate for an office environment.
Hilarie Bass, co-president, Greenberg Traurig
On South Beach, business casual prevails in hotels. We need to dress professionally, but in a more relaxed style so we can be approachable to our guests. This approach is utilized at our hotel. In the hotel industry, it is common for employee dress codes to adapt to the guest demographic; (i.e. leisure vs. business) and location (i.e. beachfront or downtown). I have seen hotel managers walk around their beachside pool decks in a suit and tie and it seems a little out of place and not very comfortable either!
Peggy Benua, general manager, Dream South Beach
We do not have a dress code other than to wear Underline T-shirts to events! Other than that, the people we meet and the places we meet them are so varied that our team of volunteers must use their best judgment for appropriate dress codes.
Meg Daly, president and CEO, Friends of The Underline
We have a casual dress code in place, and it has not affected our level of professionalism or productivity. A great deal of our work is done in other host settings, where casualness may not be the order of the day. In those instances, we dress appropriately for that environment; i.e., slacks/open collar shirt in our environment, all day. Shirt and neck tie, if part of our work day, is in an environment where casualness is not the norm.
T. Willard Fair, president and CEO, Urban League of Greater Miami
Our office encourages casual dress on Fridays and we all enjoy a nice reprieve from the usual business attire which can be confining and suffocating in the Florida heat. Of course, if an employee has a client meeting on a Friday, he or she must wear business attire for a professional appearance. We have written rules defining what is considered appropriate casual attire. The office functions at a high level on casual Fridays, no different from other days.
Vicky Garrigo, market head, U.S. Southeastern Region Private Banking, HSBC Bank
Our dress code varies from department to department. Technicians wear uniforms while service technicians wear branded polo-style shirts. For our sales and executive staff, we have an expectation of more traditional business attire, including suits, solid shirts and fashionable ties. I believe that we are in a service business, and we are fortunate to have regular guests in our showrooms who want to learn about our products, services and purchase automobiles. We are “on stage” for our clients, and we must look and act professional at all times. For the Brickell Motors brand, this means suits and ties for men and equally professional attire for women. We take our business very seriously, and I believe every member of our team should look the part.
Mario Murgado, president and CEO, Brickell Motors
In my industry, and at Perricone’s specifically, we do not have a relaxed dress code. In the service sector, I find that presentation and a polished appearance are of significant importance. Our service staff is dressed in uniform, and our management team wears a dress shirt with tie. We are interacting with guests every day, and we strive to convey our respect and appreciation for those who frequent our restaurant with a formal dress code.
Steve Perricone, president and owner, Perricone’s Restaurant
We do not allow our team members to come to work in bathing suits.
Craig Robins, president and CEO, Dacra
I don’t believe there’s correlation between how you dress and how efficient or profitable your business activities are. The Marlins have a casual Friday policy, assuming the team is not playing at home that day. I believe, given our climate, that shorts and flip flops should not be just for the beach, though I understand the general business communities’ reticence.
David Samson, president, Miami Marlins
For most FPL employees, particularly those in our business offices, the attire is primarily business casual. However, many of our employees work outside of a traditional office, and some even require specific equipment to protect their safety during the work day — which is the most important factor. We ask all of our employees to dress in line with the nature of their work while still ensuring a neat, professional appearance.
Eric Silagy, president and CEO, Florida Power & Light
We are a very casual workplace, and I think that a relaxed atmosphere is good for creativity, communication, and collaboration. However, in meetings and during collaborations, we are sure to dress professionally to combat the ‘60's stereotypes about environmental organizations.
Rachel Silverstein, executive director, Miami Waterkeeper