Office Etiquette: Dress and the workplace

Informality is creeping in and atmosphere is more casual than before. Yet certain simple rules and etiquettes need to followed, writes Sapna Sarfare in an article for the Free Press Journal.

Becoming more informal
Sarfare explains, “Tanya Swetta, Joint Managing Director at id8 Media Solutions Pvt Ltd, thinks that this rise of informality depends on where you are and the industry you belong to, saying, ‘For example, banking and financial services require a more formal dress code anywhere. The media business of advertising, marketing, PR and digital – basically integrated Marketing Communications – is by far a more creative space and allows you to dress more creatively, however the dangers of getting ‘too creative’ are always apparent.’”

“Ashwani Rathore, Co-founder and CEO, SpiderG, agrees regarding the growing informality stating that employees will feel motivated to do even the most mundane tasks. ‘Happy employees have a tendency to have a deep connection with their company, and are motivated to help their firms succeed. With young groups becoming the major percentage of the workforce, this trend will only speed up, as they want to get things done quickly and shatter the stringent corporate culture. To ensure a happy workplace these days, the HR team is also offering fun things to do during or after office hours. Flexible work timings and work from home are being included in the policy than just being perks.’”

Akash Shukla, who is the Business Head at Circle Creation, prefers to rephrase the informality concept. ‘It’s just companies  giving freedom to their employees so that they can explore their creativity. Their creativity helps to bring innovative ideas on board which ultimately add on to companies’ growth.’”

Drawing the line

“Ashwani wants each organisation to understand the work culture they want to create. ‘Usually for startups, the flat type works the best. While an informal workplace culture is meant for better productivity, it is also important that the employees don’t take undue advantage of it. For this, the company’s vision mission statement and ethics have to be imbibed right from the induction program. The HR should also take constant feedback to ensure a smooth flow of order. Should informal workplace behaviour get out of hand, it is vital that employees recognize these practices and how to change them.'”

Tanya reveals, ‘Dressing to impress is important! Always remember you are in front of your client to show off your skill and not your body! The clothes must always be ironed and clean, shoes speak a thousand words. Remember to polish them.’”

Some concepts to share
“Of course, these individuals running their workplace successfully keep certain office rules, etiquettes and regulations in mind. Akash prefers having rules. ‘One would better call them discipline. Be in office on time, inform before hand for delay and enjoy your responsibility… that’s it.’”

“Tanya again recommends, ‘Always dress well! You can be casual if you are just in the office on a regular day. Client meetings require you to be smartly dressed and modestly. No torn jeans please!’”

“Ashwani believes in a balance between employee’s happiness index and the company’s interests in the rules and regulation without compromising on the client’s needs. ‘Being punctual, meeting deadlines, being courteous to fellow colleagues and adhering to the values of the organization is an absolute must. But relaxation in terms of dress code is good for the startup culture, as the atmosphere isn’t very formal. Celebrating festivals together, participating in events and team lunches are great ways to break the ice. Additionally companies should also encourage open door policy and the HR team should be approachable. Rules and regulations are meant to ensure smooth flow of events.’”

Suggestions galore
“Now it is time to know some crucial rules, regulations and etiquettes, right from clothes to manners and office rules. Tanya suggests, ‘Be on time and considerate of your co workers. Always respond to your clients – aim for a 100% response rate. Be dressed for success. Be helpful and mindful always.’”

“Ashwani has a few rules in his book. ‘At no point in time will an employee mistreat another employee. Informal work culture doesn’t mean being insensitive; all employees have to take note of sensitive issues and respond accordingly. Learning and growing is each employee’s responsibility.’”

“Akash agrees and adds, ‘One can wear whatever they feel comfortable in. Punch your timings so you can your pay calculations correctly. Some points that I jot down are wear formals if there is any meeting lined up. The work need to be done in a given deadline. All the rules of company are equal for everyone right from senior to junior level.’”

What’s the impact?
“One can really say that following such rules does have an impact on the workplace atmosphere. Tanya feels so. ‘They help create a positive and progressive work environment.’ Akash feels such rules give employees confidence which in turn has a positive impact on the workplace atmosphere.”

“Ashwani feels rules can keep employees or employers on track resulting in working peacefully together to achieve goals. ‘While following rules and behaving appropriately is important, the work environment shouldn’t be hostile. There should be balance between fun and work. Our employees understand that and rest of the fun can continue if work is not compromised.’

Perfect workplace environment
“Akash calls the perfect workplace environment a place that ‘feels like home’. ‘It depends mostly upon the people you are working with. I love to make new friends at my workplace. If I have friends, work is fun because as friends I can have better understanding with them and working with them becomes easier.'”

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