When every day is casual Friday

MENLO PARK
June 19, 2017 7:51am
Comment Print Email

•  Workplace is trending casual, even for historically more buttoned-up professions

•  “Having a casual dress code can be an enticement when recruiting”


Don't expect your accountant to be sporting a tie or business suit. Workplace attire today is trending casual, even for historically more buttoned-up professions like accounting and finance, according to recent surveys by units of the staffing company Robert Half International (NYSE: RHI) of Menlo Park.

In its recent survey, Robert Half Finance & Accounting found that 74 percent of chief financial officers said their accounting and finance departments have a somewhat or very casual dress code.

Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) said business attire guidelines have relaxed over the last five years, compared to 16 percent who reported a more formal dress environment.

"Workplaces are evolving and so are office attire trends," says Robert Half Senior Executive Director Paul McDonald. "Employees often prefer more relaxed attire, and having a casual dress code can be an enticement when recruiting finance and accounting professionals."

But casual dress is causing consternation among some workers, says the other RHI survey.

Although 56 percent of employees surveyed said they prefer to wear more relaxed work attire, four in 10 (41 percent) admitted they're at least sometimes unsure about whether clothing is office-appropriate, according to a survey paid for by OfficeTeam.

Nearly half (48 percent) would choose to eliminate uncertainty altogether by donning a uniform.

• Those ages 18 to 34 (56 percent) have the greatest preference for formal dress codes. They're also most commonly unsure if their clothing is appropriate (54 percent) and the age group with the largest number of respondents interested in wearing a uniform (59 percent).

• More men (54 percent) prefer formal attire than women (30 percent).

• Nearly half of men (48 percent) are at least sometimes confused about whether their apparel is OK for work, compared to 31 percent of women.

• Most employees (86 percent) reported they like casual dress codes because they can wear more comfortable clothes.

• About one in four respondents (23 percent) said their company policy isn't always clear about what attire is acceptable.

Relaxed dress codes aren't an excuse for employees and job seekers to wear whatever they want to work or an interview, however. Robert Half offers tips for dressing appropriately in today's business environment:

→ Look to the next rung

What does your boss — and your boss's boss — wear? Take inspiration from upper management's style and formality. Set yourself up for success by dressing for the job you want.

→ Keep it tidy

Even if you can wear jeans and T-shirts to work, ensure they're clean and wrinkle-free.

→ Don't forget the details

A dress code encompasses an employee's total appearance. Pay as much attention to your accessories and grooming as you do your clothing.

→Play it safe when meeting with hiring managers

Don't risk making a poor first impression with clothes that are too casual. Women should wear a blazer or business-appropriate dress and closed-toe shoes with a low heel. Men fare best in a suit or jacket and tie.

→ Dress for your day

Some companies now give employees the flexibility to choose attire based on their responsibilities (e.g., visiting clients versus doing desk work). If you're unclear of your organization's guidelines, consult the employee handbook or human resources department. Consider keeping a jacket in your office should your day unexpectedly change.

"For employees, if you're not sure what's appropriate to wear for a particular situation, talk to your manager,” says Mr. McDonald. “For job seekers preparing for interviews, tap your network or check out the employers' social media activity for insights on the company's corporate culture. If you're still uncertain of what to wear, err on the formal side."

About the surveys

The Robert Half Finance & Accounting survey was conducted by an independent research firm. It is based on telephone interviews with more than 2,200 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in more than 20 of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.

The OfficeTeam survey was conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 390 U.S. workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments.


Comment Print Email










  • How to compete against Wal-Mart
  • Stockton mom turns a need into a business
  • The entrepreneur is in
  • Writing her own success story
  • Growing a small business the family way
  • The future pencils positive for this company
  • Niche marketing -- Italian style
  • Sipping success with niche marketing
  • Roasting a business out of his passion
  • Success as an independent consultant takes more than expertise
  • Avoiding the traps of employee law violations
  • Cracking the voice-over market
  • The American Dream realized, one package at a time
  • Female winemaker plunges into business
  • A new take on nurse education
  • Family sees moving business success
  • STEM thrives in pockets of education innovation
  • STEM goes solar in Stockton
  • Quick! There’s a robot in my pool
  • Retiring seniors can mean new business
  • Predawn biotech class trains next generation of science workers
  • Staying ahead of the competition the old fashioned way
  • Central Valley sees mismatch between high-tech jobs and job seekers
  • STEM starts young
  • Get ready – the future is here now
  • STEM Education: Growing the Valley's Future
  • They’re low power in wattage only, not ideas
  • Thinking success spawns Successful Thinkers
  • Small business success can mean finding the right niche
  • This franchise has real muscle behind it
  • Getting the scoop on small business success
  • Reshoring could rebuild America's manufacturing
  • Marketing that’s deliberately anchored to the past
  • Guitar artist plays his way to success
  • Paralysis no handicap for this entrepreneur
  • Boost sales with better communication
  • Making sandwiches sexy with a franchise
  • Going solar without spending a lot of money
  • They’re cute and cuddly. But are they a business?
  • Opportunity sails forth in the Delta
  • How bad etiquette on the job could kill your career
  • Growing their way out of hunger and poverty
  • Finding small business success from floor to ceiling
  • Why he’s public enemy #1 – for gophers
  • Running a home-based business successfully
  • Your boss needs a vacation – really
  • Couple makes transition from big corporations to small business
  • Carving a small business niche with a better idea
  • Calm is the goal of computer service and education franchisor
  • Developer squeezing new life into downtown with juice franchise
  • Signs of a recovering economy
  • How to keep a family business in the family
  • Ford dealership expands despite the Great Recession
  • Utility Telephone connects with customer service
  • Crowdfunding basics
  • The roar from crowdfunding is getting louder
  • California water wars’ bulldog
  • Water wars heat up in California
  • Helping businesses grow with a stronger STEM
  • How to retain your best employees
  • Small business runs success up the pole
  • Winery expands in Lodi
  • Lodi wineries tapping into growing Chinese market
  • Has the jobs picture brightened for the Valley for 2012?
  • The right education will be needed for 21st Century jobs
  • Where new jobs for San Joaquin will come from
  • Developing jobs for San Joaquin – Part 2
  • Developing jobs for San Joaquin
  • Fruits of his labor
  • Helping grow food security in the Valley of plenty
  • Doing a business turnaround despite the recession
  • Keeping customers loyal helps build her business
  • Expo exposes businesses to utility contracting ideas
  • Drink mix maker taps expertise to blend success
  • Entrepreneur finds success in a basket
  • Tips for catching resume fraud
  • There’s no checking out for this small business owner
  • Entrepreneurs take Valley sports play-by-play to the world
  • Starting a winery from scratch
  • Job hunting tips for the long-term unemployed
  • In the Central Valley, opera isn’t always the Grand Ole Opry
  • Branding ideas for small businesses
  • The ump’s not blind, but the players are
  • Finding success by tapping your brain in a new way - Part Two
  • Finding success by tapping your brain in a new way
  • Machines talking to machines is the future
  • Getting involved in the fight against AIDS
  • Franchised divorce says it’s a better way
  • Small business owner is brewing a success story
  • To beat the Great Recession, they’ve expanded
  • Taking a swing at strokes
  • Alert your taste buds – here comes Taste of San Joaquin
  • This franchise has real muscle behind it
  • Passion for his city drives him
  • Vicente Fox speaks out on U.S.-Mexico relations
  • Give your support staff recognition and reap top performance
  • Central Valley baker gets top honors for Royal Wedding pie
  • Asparagus Festival ends on high note
  • Stockton close to annual ‘tipping’ point
  • Framing small business success
  • Small business sees Affordable Care Act helping its bottom line
  • What you eat – and when – helps local restaurants
  • Coping with the aftermath of foreclosure
  • How to raise charming children
  • Central Valley grad school goes all-iPads
  • Solution to Delta water wars voiced
  • Making sure your personal bottom line is covered
  • Small California winemaker is all family
  • Small winery relies on family and innovation to compete
  • Central Valley company says it has a better way to store solar power
  • What’s wrong -- and right -- about local TV news
  • What planning means to small business success
  • Making the leap to small business
  • Out of work at middle age? Experts offer advice
  • Small business marketing, one article at a time
  • Congress on your corner as it’s supposed to be
  • Central Valley city’s heritage rediscovered
  • Central Valley school is building students’ foundations
  • Job tips from the expert
  • Long-term jobless worker re-invents himself
  • Building a new power plant means jobs for Central Valley
  • Sacramento reaches for the stars with new science center
  • Lodi Chamber opens China’s doors to small business
  • Writing books for fun – and sometimes profit
  • Black Friday shopping? How to protect yourself from scams
  • California winemakers can find added rewards overseas
  • Wine makers tap overseas markets from Lodi
  • A new revenue stream for Central Valley small businesses
  • Food bank seeks more business support
  • Tips for finding a job in the Great Recession
  • State may solve some of its prison woes with new Stockton facility
  • A solution to underwater mortgages
  • Should public libraries be managed by private firms?
  • Central Valley moves ahead with critical water project
  • Dee Dee Myers and the increasing impact of women on small business
  • How women are growing their small businesses
  • A market with a mission
  • Retailer 'paints' solutions to cash flow challenge
  • An answer for the unemployed – return to school
  • A ‘golden’ small business success story
  • Central Valley winegrapes blessed
  • Rubbing out the recession with a franchise
  • Surviving the recession as a small business
  • It’s personal, union says of Stockton fire cuts
  • How old it too old to start a new business?
  • They've found the recipe for small business success
  • MBA students help revive Central Valley farmers market
  • Classic wooden yachts anchor in Stockton for weekend
  • Foreclosures, short sales – a bank president comments
  • The strength of family helps this small business compete
  • Festival spears success in Central Valley
  • Social media helps keep family business prospering
  • Central Valley students get training in ‘green’ futures
  • Knives readied as Valley cities slash services
  • Central Valley jobless picture still grim
  • Delta residents told to ready for water war
  • Opportunities outlined for Central Valley small businesses
  • Rewiring your brain for success
  • Central Valley no longer ‘shell shocked’ by recession
  • To fix California’s government, look to London
  • Taking your sales pitch to the next level