Corporate wellness insights

Revamp The Office Dress Code to Create a Healthier Workplace

Posted by Fiona on 08.22.2012

Dressing for work shouldn’t have to mean sweating in a suit and tie or crippling tender toes in high heels. In fact, more traditional business attire restricts movement and significantly decreases the amount of time spent active each day.

To combat the general inactivity that most office workers face, an increasing number of companies are offering perks along the lines of Casual Friday that permit workout wear and comfortable clothes in the office from time to time. Wellness Corporate Solutions hosts “Fitness Fridays” where employees are encouraged to dress in casual exercise attire, eat a healthy salad lunch together in the conference room, and (when it’s not too busy!) fit in an afternoon walk on the local trail. Another well-known company offers “Workout Wednesdays” – the one day of the week when colleagues all dress in workout clothes to help make participation in healthy activities (like fitness classes) an easy choice.

Silicon Valley’s start-up culture showed us it can be okay to dress down in the workplace. Casual clothing doesn’t necessarily decrease productivity or imply any sort of disrespect in the office environment. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg became so well known for his non-traditional attire, t-shirts and hoodies have now become commonplace in many offices.

In order to promote informal attire and subsequent healthy behaviors, it helps to have management on board. Office workers are more likely to dress down if they see the CEO or other company leaders supporting the mission.

For many workplaces, traditional business attire is part of the culture and it’s not going away any time soon. And even for those employees in less buttoned-up environments, there will likely be plenty of days when clients are in the office or there is a real reason to dress to impress. And that’s okay. Casual fitness attire does not have to be an everyday occurrence

If fitness clothes will never be an appropriate option at your workplace, tuck a spare pair of sneakers under your desk and sneak in short walks whenever the opportunity arises throughout the work day.

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