Office dress codes and uniforms are evil

Day four at Answers.com is in the books, though it hasn't passed without a small revelation.  When I awoke this morning, I opened my closet door and pondered my Thursday outfit.  I initially gravitated towards slacks and a button-down shirt...after all, this is the official American male corporate uniform.  As I decided between off-khaki colored khakis and blue-grey dress pants, then perused my assorted hanging shirts, a feeling of boredom and unoriginality swept over me.  At that moment, one of those clouds that connote thought in cartoons appeared and my outfit of choice was before me: jeans and a smart-looking shirt (not necessarily of the button-down variety).  Programmed by four years in the dreadfully homogeneous world of investment banking, this felt dangerously risqué, but I followed my hunch.  It paid rich dividends. 

In short, today was one of the most liberating work-days of my career.  Why?  Because I wore what I felt comfortable wearing and I gave myself the freedom to express myself - if even the slightest amount - through my choice in outfits.  I felt more creative throughout the day and far more prolific in idea generation and concept creation.  And the more I thought about it, the more it made sense.  When you strip an employee of freedom to express themselves by enforcing a staid dress code or by encouraging other homogeneous behavior, you also suppress their creative energy.  If you are running an assembly line (IBanking isn't far away), that's one thing, but if you value original ideas and individual talents, then let them shine.   There is one company that comes to mind who value individual creativity enough to integrate it into their core values and it has undoubtedly contributed to helping them become the leader of the technology revolution in a whole...eight years.  I'll leave you guessing...

By Josh Guttman

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