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Who What Wear: The Post-Pandemic Clothing Habits of British Office Workers | Flexi Offices

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There’s no denying that office working has taken on a whole new look since the pandemic: remote and hybrid are the new norm, offices have become more of a social gathering hot spot, and lots of companies have even chosen to give up their huge office spaces altogether in favour of flexi spots. So, it’s no surprise that all this change has impacted how people dress for the office and their attitudes towards office clothing. In fact, the “office dress code” has taken on a completely new meaning – or rather, it’s gone out of the window.

After spending two years working remotely – sometimes even from bed - mostly in pyjamas or loungewear, we’ve all gotten a little too comfortable, and pretty much said good riddance to the structured, formal office attire we grew accustomed to before the pandemic.

In a recent survey we took, we surveyed 2000 Brits to find out their thoughts on office attire, both pre- and post-pandemic, and what their clothing habits look like now. Here’s what we found:

    Smart casual was the most common dress code pre-pandemic (19%)

    6% of workers had an enforced “suited and booted” dress code pre-pandemic

    Greater London was the most casual region (19%)

    Brits less likely to have a dress code post-pandemic (13% vs 7%)

    45% Brits believe office environments require a formal/business dress code

    13% of Brits would prefer to be more formal in the office post-pandemic, as it’s not every day

    More than 1 in 5 Brits would be put off applying for a job if there was a “suited and booted” dress code (21%)

    1 in 10 Brits (11%) would be put off by a casual dress code

    More than 1 in 4 Brits (26%) adhere to an office dress code at least some of the time while working from home

    2% of Brits admitted to wearing heels while working from home

Our survey results show that whilst people may prefer comfort over style, especially when working from home, there is still a firm notion that if you choose to come into the office, you should adhere to some sort of dress code. In fact, many people have a very specific idea of what they would deem to be inappropriate office attire. 

Here are the top 10 clothing items that people believe are too inappropriate to wear into the office:

1.    T-shirts with offensive slogans 

2.    Flip flops

3.    Crop tops 

4.    Low cut tops 

5.    Sportswear/gym wear

6.    Joggers

7.    Mini skirts

8.    Mini dresses

9.    Graphic t-shirts

10.   Shorts on men

Amazingly, 1 in 5 men don’t consider anything to be inappropriate! 

We also broke the survey results down a little more, to investigate what each industry thought was the most inappropriate

    Architecture, Engineering & Building: sportswear/gym wear (33.33%)

    Arts & Culture: flip flops (34.48%)

    Education: t-shirts with offensive slogans (36.88%)

    Finance: t-shirts with offensive slogans (21.88%) and flip flops (21.88%)

    Healthcare: t-shirts with offensive slogans (32%)

    HR: flip flops (22.5%)

    IT & Telecoms: graphic t-shirts (19.48%)

    Legal: t-shirts with offensive slogans (38.46%)

    Manufacturing & Utilities: t-shirts with offensive slogans (37.84%)

    Retail, Catering & Leisure: t-shirts with offensive slogans (31.89%)

    Sales, Media & Marketing: crop tops (20%)

    Travel & Transport: flip flops (24.14%)

Unsurprisingly, t-shirts with offensive slogans topped the list for most industries, although it’s interesting to see how many British workers have a vendetta against flip-flops in the office! 

With Flexioffices available around the country, we’ve taken a look at which cities believe office environments require a formal/business dress code, in order to help potential employers understand the demographic a little better and make informed decisions about what office space is right for them. 

Liverpool was found to be the most formal city, with 50.53% of those surveyed here agreeing that an office requires a formal dress code, while at the other end of the country Brighton was found to be the least fussy with uniforms, as just 31% said the same thing. Other high-ranking cities included: London (48.75%), Manchester (48.47%), Sheffield (47.46%), and Birmingham (47.21%). 

Pre pandemic times had everyone dressed formal in the office, or at the very least smart casual. Now, with most people working from home whether that is full time or occasionally, “work attire” has changed. People choose comfort over style, especially when working from home, and in fact our survey found that the most common items of clothing worn at home are similar to those deemed most inappropriate in the office!

Here are the top 10 items of clothing most likely to be worn at home

1.    T-shirts with offensive slogans (32%)

2.    Flip flops (23%)

3.    Crop tops (22%)

4.    Low cut tops (20%)

5.    Sportswear/gym wear (18%)

6.    Joggers (17%)

7.    Miniskirts (15%)

8.    Mini dresses (14%)

9.    Graphic t-shirts (14%)

10.   Shorts on men (10%)

It's clear to see that whilst workers have a rather specific idea of what you “shouldn’t” wear into the office – mostly comfortable clothes – they’ll happily wear those same clothing items in the comfort of their own homes. 

If you’re looking to work in an environment where you don’t have to worry too much about dressing smart and formal, check out www.flexioffices.co.uk! 

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