As the world gradually returns to normality, the conversation around the returning to the office has taken centre stage for businesses and their employees. Along with it has come the debate of what workplace attire should look like, after a few years of enjoying a very relaxed work uniform, many employees don’t want to return to the suit and tie. 

There are no lack of perspectives or opinions on the best approaches to maximise staff morale, comfort, and output, group cohesion and culture while maximising workplace efficiencies and how these can all be achieved in the office working from home. Join us as we unpack and explore the pros and cons of reoccupying office spaces, the hybrid model, and discuss if this shift should prompt a reassessment of corporate dress code norms. 

The Ongoing Discussion on Conventional Office Dress Codes: 

The topic of corporate attire has always been a subject of debate. After a few years of enjoying very relaxed workplace attire, many employees have come to enjoy the more comfortable day to day experience that comes with jeans and a t-shirt, a pair of Converse over leather lace ups and so on.  

Recent discourse suggests that conventional office dress codes are becoming outdated, emphasising the need for a more flexible and employee-focused approach.  

We believe it is finding the balance of casual, smart casual and corporate that many organisations are finding hard, but with more and more employees demanding more comfortable workplace spaces, and needing more reasons to want to be ‘in the office’ then companies may need to strongly consider their stance of strict corporate attire, with a hybrid expectation that includes and understand of the attire for day to day vs the expectations for when meeting with external partiers or clients.  

Being in the world of consulting, we have not been immune to needing to find this balance. With our team often meeting with clients or embedding into their payroll teams entirely, there has been a need for our people to be agile in understanding what different clients’ workplaces look like and to ensure their presentation meets the client’s needs.  

The Benefits of Resuming Office Work: 

Increasing evidence points to the importance of face-to-face interactions in fostering collaboration and team spirit. It is also suggested that increased time in the office can also positively impact mental health and work-life harmony. The clear separation between work and home environments can contribute to a healthier lifestyle. Many Australian firms take pride in their unique company culture, which can be preserved and strengthened by returning to the office. 

The Case Against Returning to the Office: 

On the other hand, some argue that remote work has proven its efficiency, with employees reporting enhanced productivity and flexibility. The modern workplace relies heavily on technology, and the infrastructure for remote work has greatly improved. The reduced need for commuting and the associated environmental benefits (like working with your dog/cat/bird by your side) are additional factors that might dissuade some from reverting to the traditional office setting. 

The Hybrid Model: 

Considering the diverse opinions on returning to the office, a hybrid model appears as a potential compromise. This model allows employees to split their time between working in the office and from home, providing the best of both worlds. 

The choice to return to the office is a multifaceted one for Australian employees and businesses. As we navigate this shift, it’s crucial to consider the varied views on productivity, collaboration, and work-life harmony. Whether it’s a complete return to the office, a continued preference for remote work, or a hybrid approach, the key is to find a solution that respects individual choices and aligns with the dynamic nature of the Australian work culture. Moreover, the re-evaluation of corporate attire norms adds another layer to this evolution, and flexibility here may support greater desire to be in the office for some. 

The transition back to the office is not a one-size-fits-all solution. It requires careful consideration of various factors, including employee productivity, mental health, company culture, and even dress codes. As we move forward, it’s clear that the future of work in Australia, and indeed the world, will be a blend of old and new, traditional and modern, in-office and remote. The challenge lies in striking the right balance to ensure a conducive and productive work environment for all.  

As a workforce management, payroll and project consultancy, we are committed to supporting our clients in meeting their goals for office based or WFH arrangements along with workplace attire expectations, we understand, these experiences are new and evolving and are committed to be as agile as needed to support our clients on this journey.  If you have a project, or payroll struggle you need help with, and you want to partner with a consultancy that’s as flexible as you – then let’s talk.  

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