Casual Friday at the Office: a Perk that Promotes Employee Engagement

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Friday is a special day for employees. Not only because, in many companies, it has a reduced schedule, but also because it is the day that precedes the long-awaited weekend. With a good mood floating in the air, Casual Friday is the perfect touch to improve the work environment and promote engagement in the office. 

Casual Friday, Informal Friday, or “Casual Day” is a practice that began in the United States in the 1960s and, little by little, has spread throughout different territories. As its name suggests, it’s the day when employees can leave their formal suits at home and opt for more comfortable and less corseted clothing. 

But why has this day become so popular? The truth is that, for companies, implementing Casual Friday has many benefits, and we will tell you all of them below. 

How did the Casual Friday trend start? 

To know the origin of this concept, we have to go back to Hawaii in 1962. 

In an area where the heat is so intense, the employees of different companies began to wear the famous Hawaiian shirts in an attempt to suffocate the high temperatures, thus freeing themselves from having to wear the traditional suit. 

This movement was known by the name of “Operation Liberation”. 

However, despite the comfort it provided for employees, many HR managers did not take kindly to people walking around offices in shorts and colored palm t-shirts. 

To find balance and keep both the workforce and companies happy, clothing brand Dockers created a style guide with casual wear that employees could wear to work without fear of being judged. 

The guide was reviewed by more than 25,000 HR managers who, giving the go-ahead, allowed employees to start dressing in a more modern and informal way. 

Today, there are many companies that offer Casual Friday as a perk for people in their value proposition. This practice helps to break the routine, reduce stress, improve the work environment, and maintain high levels of employee engagement. 

Benefits of implementing Casual Friday in the office 

It may seem that a simple change of outfit will not have much impact on the results of a company, at least not directly. But allowing employees to dress how they want improves their self-esteem and motivation, and that does affect their performance. 

Here are a few benefits that you will notice in the company when you implement Casual Friday.

1. Helps to get to know employees better

Fashion is one more way of expressing who we are. Allowing employees to dress in clothes that do not follow a strict and formal dresscode helps to visualize their personality, their tastes and their interests, allowing us to get to know them in greater depth.

2. Promotes tolerance and inclusivity

A workforce dressed in a suit and tie, or skirt and heels, creates a false sense of homogeneity. People are not all the same and as team managers we need to make sure employees are comfortable with who they are.

3. Increased motivation

Casual Friday is a sign that the weekend is near. This improves the mood of employees, making them more motivated without losing focus on their work.

4. Promotes socialization

The formality of the suits creates barriers. Somehow, dressing more seriously makes us perpetuate the typical hierarchical roles, making our socialization with higher-ups more timid. By removing the suit factor, this barrier brokes, daring us to approach people who would otherwise we find more difficult to.

5. Improved brand image

When looking for a job, professionals look for companies that ensure their well-being and quality of life. Casual Fridays are a way to indicate that the company cares about the comfort of its workers while showing a corporate culture open to new experiences, which undoubtedly helps project a positive brand image.

6. Higher productivity

For many people, wearing a suit is uncomfortable, especially in hot weather. And in the case of women, heels are not only uncomfortable, but can cause health damage if they are used for a long time. This fact causes productivity to slow down. Instead, the comfort provided by comfortable clothing allows employees to better focus on their tasks and pay more attention to detail.

7. Attract young talent

Suit and tie companies are a symbol of past generations. The new generation of employees favors well-being over salary and a positive corporate culture related to their interests is an excellent claim to attract the attention of the youngest people.

8. Save costs

Especially when it comes to territories with hot climates, the use of air conditioning becomes essential whenever employees have to wear suits. Limiting the use of these devices is a benefit that provides the company with significant economic savings if they promote Casual Fridays.

9. Keeps the environment free from pollution

In 2005, the Japanese Ministry of the Environment began a study in which it was pointed out that the use of a suit in the office produces 460,000 tons of CO2 emissions. Thus, Casual Friday days would represent a saving in carbon emissions, helping the community to keep the air cleaner. 

How to implement Casual Fridays in the company 

Although Casual Fridays allow employees to wear more relaxed clothing, there are a few things to keep in mind. 

1. Notify employees 

Whether through a meeting or an official communication channel, everyone in the company needs to know what the new Friday norm will be. In addition, it is a good idea to know what employees think about this initiative. 

To do this, you can use a software like Team Insights. Thus, you can ask what aspects are the most worrying to people and find out what is the best way to introduce Casual Fridays in the office. 

2. Set expectations clear 

Casual Friday involves the use of less formal dress. But yet you have to understand that employees are still in a work environment. 

In this sense, it is important that the company expresses which garments are considered appropriate and which are not. And company culture is also important. For this reason, it’s also advisable to align the type of clothing with the company’s ideology. 

3. Keep your customers in mind 

For those employees dealing with customers, it’s important to continue to maintain a dress code that does not make them feel uncomfortable. When implementing Casual Friday, make sure you know which clients are more strict with the dress code, and which are more lax so as not to create any misunderstandings. 

4. Appreciate the generational difference 

It’s increasingly common for companies to have a multigenerational team. This implies that the concept of “casual” varies from one age to another. While older employees may still wear formal attire, younger employees will tend to wear more modern, casual clothing. 

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