Australian workers reluctant to give up casual clothing after working from home

Is the business suit dead and buried?

Australian workers reluctant to give up casual clothing after working from home

As a nation synonymous with golden beaches and bright blue skies, Australia has long been known for its relaxed lifestyle. Thongs and boardshorts are a staple in the wardrobe for most Aussies, and now, after several stretches of working from home, it seems many workers would be quite happy to ditch the business suit altogether.

According to new research by Dynata, a leading data and insights platform, Australian workers are some of the most reluctant in the world to ditch their casual clothing. Of the Aussies who wore business attire before the pandemic, nearly a third (29%) said they were not at all excited about the prospect of wearing formal clothing again. That figure is far higher than the global average (16%) and of the nations surveyed, only workers in the UK are less reluctant to dig out their workwear.

Read more: Flexible working: Is it given or is it earned?

Elsewhere, workers in Spain (53%), The Netherlands (47%) and Italy (47%) are the most excited about a return to power dressing, compared to just 28% of Aussies.

Speaking to HRD, James Burge, Dynata’s Managing Director Asia-Pacific, said the data shows Australians are feeling comfortable and productive while working from home, and have largely been able to strike a better work/life balance in the wake of the pandemic.

“There are perks of working from home that people clearly enjoy and want to continue, beyond just a more casual style of dress, and our data points towards some potentially interesting reverberations across other aspects of our daily lives – dress, travel, home decorating, etc. – that bear watching as things return to a greater sense of normalcy,” he said.

With Aussies seemingly less excited about a return to business attire than other workers around the globe, some have argued that employers should scrap formal dress requirements altogether. Many employers still expect workers to dress a certain way – whether through a formal policy or a cultural expectation – but has a dresscode become archaic in the shift to remote working?

Read more: Workplace COVID-19 vaccinations could begin in September

Burge said it may be too early to tell whether today’s attitudes towards workwear will be permanent.

“But it’s clear from our data that there are benefits and flexibility of their pandemic working lives that employees wish to keep beyond just casual dress,” he said. “Employers would be wise to consider what the preferences of their employees for dress, work style and location, business travel and other aspects might mean for bringing people back in the office and for future retention/recruiting efforts.”

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