Casual Fridays

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(and Mondays, Tuesdays,
Wednesdays, Thursdays)

Starting in California#s Silicon Valley, office casual has gradually moved from a once-a-week phenomenon to a daily do. In 1992, only seven percent of American corporate employees dressed in casual duds daily while 17 percent did so once a week. By 1997, 53 percent were casual daily and 42 percent honored the Casual Friday trend.

But the 46 percent daily increase and the 25 percent weekly increase seems to have its basis in a caste system of sorts, for many managers simply don#t, claiming they have a reputation to uphold or an example to set. Bosses aside, the Society for Human Resource Management stated in 2000 that 87 percent of managers reported casual dress codes at the office increase employee morale. And 50 percent say it improves productivity.

Considered the number one perk about which employees question recruiters, there are nevertheless two sides to every story. A survey of 1000 managers conducted in 2000 by a law firm specializing in labor and workplace issues stated that 44 percent of those interviewed had noted an increase in tardiness and absenteeism since the advent of casual attire policies, and 30 percent had noticed an increase in flirtatious behavior.

In Gwinnett County, there were nearly 10,000 home-based businesses in 1999. And how you dress at home is your own business, just like your occupation. But for most of our ten largest employers, proper business attire in the office is defined as “casual professional”, stylish but comfortable, well-coordinated clothing. More structured dressing such as suits and dresses becomes important for client business meetings if clients prefer that.

So who knew? Some like it cool and casual, some like it a bit more formal. Some dress down, some up. The key is to remain stylishly well groomed at all costs and fit in with whatever is your corporate clime.

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