Casual Friday is a time-honoured tradition. The once a week opportunity to dress down has been re-appropriated into many different facets such as “Hawaiian shirt Friday” and many charity groups run their fundraisers such as “jeans for genes day” on Friday to fit in with the usual office day of casual attire. Countless articles online proclaim the correct choice of clothing for a casual Friday, including Oprah, the daytime-talk Queen herself. But does casual Friday work? What are the benefits for such a deviation from the norm? Below are the reasons for allowing your employees to dress less formally once a week:
It’s a fun change of pace
Anything that promotes a break from the monotony of the usual workday can help employees feel more engaged with their work, and more motivated to achieve success in the workplace. Even something so simple as music in the office can dramatically improve productivity and efficiency. So let your employees have some fun with it. You can even run themes where employees come wearing their favourite sport colours or crazy socks or whatever you would like to do. Get creative with it! Of course, as Oprah herself says, there can be some inappropriate casual wear choices, so ensure a clear policy for casual Friday dress codes to avoid any uncomfortable situations.
Promoting team building
More casual dressing may promote more approachability, and therefore you may find that interpersonal collaboration is strengthened by a casual Friday tradition. Generally, with casual attire, there will be less stratification of work roles, and employees will feel less identified by their wardrobes and status but by their contributions. With greater cross-communication, social relationships will also be strengthened and ultimately your teams will be stronger and more interconnected.
Meets employee needs
Enabling your employees to display a sense of individuality whilst attending their work helps them to feel more like a person than just a number. Looking out for employee comfort also promotes the idea that personal needs of employees are seen to by management and that each individual is valuable.
Everyone loves a free perk
Ultimately, this is a free strategy to enhance workplace engagement. Everybody loves a freebie, and this is a win for employee motivation which literally doesn’t cost a thing. Many employees look forward to and enjoy the opportunity to express their individuality on a casual Friday.
Don’t hesitate to add this free motivating strategy to your office environment. Develop a policy on appropriate office attire, and you can put this into place almost immediately. Don’t forget to measure the impact of this technique on team strength and workplace engagement to see if it is having an effect. But according to the anecdotal evidence, this is usually a winner, helping employees feel more motivated on both casual Friday, and through the week whilst looking forward to the end of the week coming around.