By: Dakota Harris; Account Service Intern
Since the beginning of business, a strict coat-and-tie mindset has leaked out of the primordial ooze. This has created an ongoing battle between corporate sticklers who say no tie, no sports coat, no service and the fresh-out-of-college Millennials who swear sweat pants and flip flops are the perfect cocktail for comfort, thus improving productivity.
So does more casual attire mean greater productivity and creativity? Let me answer a question with a question. Is it possible to distinguish your work self from your weekend self while wearing weekend clothes? Does wearing a tie and cuff links put you in a heightened, more focused state of mind? Some studies say we attach characteristics to the articles of clothing we are wearing. For example, we feel fitter while wearing our workout clothes. When we put on our PJs during the daytime, we start to feel a nap approaching. Why is this? Our body adapts to change. Change in atmosphere. Change of clothing. Wearing a suit might very well give us an extra sense of professionalism and confidence that a tank top and cargos can’t seem to muster.
Conversely, does having a more casual appearance put fellow employees at ease, creating a friendlier, more relaxed environment? Does working in ripped jeans and your favorite band tee make you want to crush deadlines past 6 p.m.? Andrew Jensen, who has studied the relationship between office wear and productivity, states that it depends greatly on the culture of the office. If you work at Google, wearing Crocs with socks isn’t going to create the same ripples as the tidal waves it would cause in a super-traditional law firm.
Whether or not tank tops and Vans give you crazy benefits from being comfortable, and thus giving you more productivity, creativity and the desire to work longer, we’ll never officially know. But there is a shift toward more casual attire in business, and the world seems to be bustling on at a faster rate than ever. If you ask for my two cents, and you haven’t, I say that it’s for the good. When it comes to productivity and creativity, nothing gets those juices flowing quite like when you’re in, well, whatever it is you like to be in.