Dress Codes and Set Working Hours: Beneficial or Outdated? 3

Dress codes vs. casual dressFlextime options and casual dress in the workplace are hallmarks of modern business—or are they? I asked ten new and successful entrepreneurs for their take on whether dress codes and set working hours are outdated or still beneficial, and this is what they had to say:

1. Outdated—Comfort Trumps Tradition

While traditional environments and policies may look nice, they don’t promote productive employees. Everyone works differently. We always have snacks, drinks and music in the office, as well as a variety of work stations and no dress code. A pretty office isn’t necessarily a well-performing office.
– Liam MartinStaff.com

2. Beneficial, But it Depends on the Team Member

With a virtual team, it’s almost impossible to enforce a dress code. Most of our team members are not client facing, so whether they’re wearing pajamas or a suit is a moot point. For those team members, we focus on deliverables and deadlines. However, anyone who works with clients, partners or is present in-person or on camera has work hours and a standard of dress.
– Kelly AzevedoShe’s Got Systems

3. Outdated—Flexbility Shows Trust

We have no vacation policy, no set hours and no dress code, but we also know our team members won’t take advantage of or abuse those privileges. We hired them because we trust them to do whatever they need to do to do the best job possible.
– Derek FlanzraichGreatist

4. Outdated—Flexbility Fuels Creativity

In order for a startup to succeed, there needs to be an atmosphere that inspires creativity and innovation, which is why I refrained from establishing a dress code policy. That flexibility translates to our working hours policy: employees put in their required time on whatever schedule works best for them. We’re very flexible because we know that a typical 9-to-5 day doesn’t work for everyone.
– Ted MurphyIZEA

5. Outdated—Happy Employees Perform Better

I’m not strict with attire or schedules. If you want the best out of your team, you have to accommodate them when you can and understand that the business may be your whole life, but that doesn’t mean they feel the same. Choose function over fashion. If the work is getting done and getting done well, then what’s the difference if they’re wearing jeans or tuxedos?
– Nick FriedmanCollege Hunks Hauling Junk and College Hunks Moving

6. Beneficial—It Sets Expectations

The answer entirely depends on the business itself. A small online firm could get away with wearing sweats, while a law practice that entertains clients should dress the part. The key is to set expectations. Properly communicate and monitor them. Your team will be most comfortable and productive when they understand your company’s practices, boundaries and expectations clearly.
– Nicolas GremionFree-eBooks.net

7. Outdated—It’s of Marginal Importance

We’re flexible around hours, dress and vacation. All of that is of marginal importance to me. What matters is meeting your commitments to the business and not letting your teammates down. Folks who don’t hit their goals and commitments don’t last long no matter how many hours they work or what they wear.
– Erik SeveringhausSimpleRelevance

8. Beneficial—Align Your Culture With Your Business

Flex work hours and casual dress shouldn’t be part of your strategy because they’re cool. Culture should align with your business. If your clients are suit-wearers, you may have to mirror their image. If you’re doing business in China, you may have to be available for client calls at late hours. The key is to think about your business needs first, then the culture you’re trying to create.
– Susan Strayer LaMotteexaqueo

9. Outdated—It’s About Results

I want my team members to give me their A-game, and they know themselves better than I do. If A-game means they do their best work at night or early in the morning in their pajamas, I want to support that. It’s about results, not time.
– Leah NeaderthalStart Somewhere

10. Outdated—Build Your Company Culture Collaboratively

One of the most rewarding and challenging parts of building a company is creating its culture. You get to build the place you want to work, which is what distinguishes a smaller company from its larger competition. Work collaboratively to define those cultural norms from dress code, hours, vacation and office norms. Build norms, and let the team make them your culture.
– Eric Koester, DCI

About the Author Scott Gerber is the founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. Follow Scott on Google+ Read more »

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  • Wasiem Shehzad

    Build Trust, Enforce Values, once we have these, we do not need to worry about hours and dress, the only thing to look for is the end results and meeting or exceeding expectations. dress matters and so does set hours, but its not the be all and end all of the business world.

  • Arun

    I think this is mostly done in British oriented companies whereas American companies I believe are quite relaxed in this respect . This is in deed an overall control administration of a management upper hand . In the historical past kings used to keep their public assembly doors intentionally of low heights ! Intentions were to make people bowing at entry whether they like it or not . This an ugly art of establishing unconscious obedience to commands of superiority.

  • Taylor

    I think it all depends on the type of business. The startup company that I work for is in the investment real estate field, and it is important to give clients a professional impression. I also think a dress code enforces a more professional culture within the company.