Flextime 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 I asked ten new and successful entrepreneurs for their take on whether dress codes and set working hours are outdated or still beneficial, and this is what they had to say: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 Outdated—Comfort Trumps Tradition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 Martin, Staff.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 Azevedo, She’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 Outdated—Flexbility Shows Trust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 Flanzraich, Greatist
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 Outdated—Flexbility Fuels Creativity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 Murphy, IZEA
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 Outdated—Happy Employees Perform Better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 Friedman, College 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 Gremion, Free-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 Severinghaus, SimpleRelevance
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 LaMotte, exaqueo
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 Neaderthal, Start 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
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