Younger Workers Not All Sold On Casual Attire; But Their Bosses Are

Jul 31, 2008
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Now here’s a curious tidbit from a totally unscientific poll that has us scratching our head: Half of all entry- and middle-level workers think business casual dress hurts productivity.

That alone surprised us, since we have this sense that most lower-level workers are in their 20s and 30s and came of age at a time when casual was already the norm.

The corker, though, is that this self-same survey had bosses saying casual attire was perfectly fine. Only 40 percent thought it hurt productivity.

Remember we said this was an unscientific survey. Conducted by FPC, a national franchise search firm, the survey had 9,105 responses collected anonymously from workers who visited the site. Researchers and pollsters can legitimately argue that it is not random and self-selecting.

Caveats aside, we would have guessed that the bosses were the ones ready to go back to suits, skirts, and ties. And though a bare majority (51 percent) of the workers said going back to formal business attire would be a step backward, our guess would have been something like 90 percent would feel that way.

Interestingly, only in chemical, biomedical, and pharmaceuticals did workers and bosses agree that casual attire hurt productivity.

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.