The dress code faux pas that could be 'strangling' your staff

    The dress code faux pas that could be 'strangling' your staff

    Ties help your staff to look smart and fit into a professional environment. However, this very common feature of many dress codes could be harming your employees’ cognitive functioning – which includes memory, attention and reasoning.

    That’s according to research from Robin Lüddecke in Germany, published in the journal Neuroradiology. The researchers studied 30 young men who either wore ties or went without, and then had their brains looked at in an MRI machine.

    Those who wore ties were found to have a 7.5% drop in the blood flow to their brains – and while that may not be enough to cause obvious or serious symptoms, the researchers warned it could have a negative impact on how well the staff could perform. The researchers described the effect as “socially desirable strangulation.”

    So, is it time to bin off the necktie for good? More and more industries do seem to be moving away from formal dress codes. Last summer, John Bercow decreed that men in the House of Commons would no longer be required to wear ties in the chamber, and Silicon Valley in California is well known for its dressed-down attitude.

    However, writing in the Telegraph, Jonathan Wells argued that ties have a strong psychological impact which can help employees to draw a dividing line between work and play. “These small strips of silk or wool or polyester blend are dividers, psychologically telling us when it's time to knuckle down and do our jobs,” he said. “When we remove our ties after work, it's a way of telling our bodies that we can relax, physically and mentally."

    "Tie time belongs to your employee; open neck time belongs to yourself. Easy.”

    But, there could be one more mitigating factor that will convince you to let your staff go with an open collar – this week’s sweltering heatwave.

    Jo Stubbs, Head of Content at XpertHR, said that while employers can still enforce a dress code during a heatwave and potentially discipline or send home staff who refuse to follow the company dress code, there is obviously a “common sense approach” they could take to working in very high temperatures.

    “To keep staff happy and productive, employers may relax their dress code temporarily, adding some stipulations about certain items not allowed such as beachwear, which would not be appropriate for the office,” she suggested.

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    Comments (1)

    • Julez
      Fri, 3 Aug 2018 3:24pm BST
      It made me smile (wryly) that Jonathan Well argues that ties have a strong psychological impact which can help employees (AKA MEN!) draw a line between work and play.

      The idea of being suited and booted is antiquated and really has no place in today's workplace.

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