Tats and Ties – Chatting ‘work dress codes’ with CEO Alec Dobbie

I don’t think wearing a tie has ever made me a better worker.

How people dress at work and ‘formal dress codes’ has been a polarising subject for a while.

More recently, there have been discussions about everything from the nature of self-expression, whether some industries are failing to evolve and what ‘business casual’ even means.

According to a study a few years ago by Stormline, 61% of people looking for a new job said they’d have a negative perception of any company that enforced a dress code.

78% of respondents also said that even without a dress code, they’d still make an effort to dress well and would make a clear distinction between ‘work clothes’ and ‘non-work clothes’.

Naturally, there are industries that have dress codes in place for health and safety reasons, or where it serves to reinforce the company’s brand.

However, just as companies have become steadily more virtual in recent times – accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic over the past few months – there has been a move towards relaxing rules.

This has shifted perceptions of what constitutes ‘official workplace attire’ and seen employees given more flexibility.

To get the FanFinders’ perspective on this topic, we caught up with CEO and Co-Founder Alec Dobbie.

Outside of my kids, I don’t think I’ve ever had to tell anyone what to go and wear, and I don’t plan on changing that anytime soon.

We’re a creative, modern, tech company and I think our attitude reflects that. We want people to be able to express themselves.

Anyone who has encountered a start-up environment should be well accustomed to the sight of colleagues who usually rock up in football tops, t-shirts and shorts in summer, looking a touch dressier for an important client meeting or networking event.

And Alec admits there are still lines.

I think if you’re in a client-facing role, then you need to be conscious of other companies’ expectations. I don’t tend to speak to clients in my vest and shorts, but that’s also about respecting their perspective.

That said, some of the world’s largest companies have shown that wearing hoodies, t-shirts and jeans isn’t going to hold you back.

I can’t actually see how anyone in our software development or creative teams would benefit from wearing a tie, for example.

Ultimately, it boils down to trusting your employees.

I think there is a lot to be said for having confidence in your team to be aware and make the right calls based on the nature of their role.”

“That comes down to hiring the correct people. If you do that, you don’t need a dress code.