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Employees want a casual dress code — here’s how much they think it’s worth

Ann Schmidt

Workers really want to dress casually at work -- and they’ll even pay for it.

According to a new survey published Tuesday by Randstad US, 33 percent of employees would rather have an informal dress code than an extra $5,000 in their salary.

In fact, about a third of the 1,204 respondents said they would even quit their job or turn down a job offer if they had to follow a conservative dress code.

Casual attire has actually become the norm in offices, the study found. Twenty-six percent of respondents said their dress code is business casual, while 33 percent said theirs was casual and 20 percent said their employers had no dress code at all.

Together, 79 percent of respondents said their workplaces fit into one of those categories.

However, there are types of clothing that are too casual for people, the survey found, including ripped jeans, leggings, heels higher than 3 inches and open-toed shoes.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents said someone else’s clothes at work made them feel uncomfortable because it was too revealing.

"The nature of work — where, when and how it gets done — has changed dramatically over the past several years, and many of those changes (open offices, remote work) have ultimately contributed to a less formal workplace," Randstad US’s Traci Fiatte, CEO, non-technical staffing said in the report.

“It’s great to empower your employees to dress for their day, as well as show their personality, but it is equally important for employers to set some clear guidelines to ensure that everyone feels comfortable,” Fiatte added.

Among respondents between the ages of 25 and 35, 38 percent said they’ve had a manager or someone from HR ask them to dress more professionally.

“There’s an interesting disconnect around younger workers: most associates dressing up with more confidence and better work performance, but nearly 40 percent also report they’ve had a manager speak to them about dressing more professionally,” Fiatte said.

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“The bottom line is, as long as employees dress in a way that’s consistent with their employer’s policies, most managers care less about what their employees wear than about their performance and work output,” Fiatte added.

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