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Is dressing down the new office dress code?

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With more firms introducing casual Fridays and organisations participating in events such as Biz-Green Dress Day, it is evident that workplace attire has become more casual, but employees should be careful not to go too far, warned a Regus report on office dress codes.

While wearing  a suit and tie is considered too formal (74% of business professionals worldwide thought so), there are a number of “controversial” items that office workers in Asia should avoid.

Flip-flops
While globally only 14% respondents agree they are acceptable in the office, in Hong Kong, the figure is twice the global average (28%). South Koreans are the biggest fan of flip-flops, with 75% saying it is totally fine to wear them to work.

Sandals
Globally, about a third of respondents (35%) are comfortable wearing sandals to work. The picture is different in Asia, where 61% in South Korea and 58% in Mainland China are OK with sandals at work. In Hong Kong, the sandal-wearing community is smaller at 45%.

Track suits
Around the world less than 18% of respondents gave them a thumbs up in the office. Again, Asia differs, with 72% of people in Mainland China and 45% in Hong Kong ticking track suits as office-appropriate garments.

The report also covered the wardrobe trends of home workers – no surprise there, globally 43% said they sometimes work in pyjamas and 20% sometimes work in their underwear.

Home workers in Asia also adopt a much looser dress code than their international counterparts. Over 32% of Hong Kong respondents confessed that they sometimes work in underwear at home and over 62% are likely to wear pyjamas

People in India (78%) and Mainland China (68%) expressed an even higher acceptance of wearing pyjamas at home while dealing with business matters.

However, Asian home workers with likes of Hong Kong (91%) and Mainland Chinese (98%) are more willing to smarten themselves up before a video call than their global peers (82%).

“While a suit and tie remain standard in only a few areas of businesses, jeans and smart-casual attire are now common well beyond the creative industries,” noted Natina Wong, country manager at Regus Hong Kong.

“That said, there are still some important cultural boundaries, and business people in most countries draw the line at flip flops and gym clothes.”

The report canvassed the opinions of almost 40,000 respondents from 100 countries, including 349 professionals in Hong Kong.

Image: Shutterstock

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