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Traditional vs. Modern Work Trends (Part A)


The way working life has evolved over the past decade has really taken the professional world by storm. There are so many trends that have been in action for decades on decades on decades but recently they have been bucked as firms try and find creative ways of improving staff performance. With some companies, these changes have worked with flying colours while some firms have refused to embrace “modernisation” but are still performing at the highest level. In part A of this blog, we will look at how our first two traditional work trends have been modernised. In addition to this we will analyse the pros and cons of each.


Suits vs. plain clothes

This is one of the most common changes in offices in the modern era. Gone are the days you would walk through the city and every man would be in a suit, clean shaven, pacing their way to their offices. “Groundhog Day” as some like to refer it to. Nowadays, you may see the odd bearded man in Clark’s desert boots or the odd female in preppy sweater, Costa coffee in hand while strolling to work. Times have changed.


Over the past decade, the introduction of plain clothes has taken the work environment by storm. Initially it only started off as “dress down Friday’s” but some bosses then began to identify a better morale and productivity from their staff when in their own attire on Friday’s therefore extending it to more days throughout the week. Eventually some bosses have ditched the suit for good, making the dress code “smart casual” for ALL days at work.


Those “pro-suit” as work attire will bellow out the famous Oscar Wilde saying “you can never be overdressed or overeducated”. Latching on to the former, “overdressed”, it can be argued that the suit gives the mentality to employees that you are there for work. It is a professional outfit and in an age where, so many people have different tastes in fashion- it is a safe option to ensure everybody is at least visually representing the company well. All you have to do is to look around your office and you can imagine the different dress senses/styles that some may deem as “smart casual” that can lead bosses to believe it is too much of a roll of a dice to enforce “smart casual”. Also through wearing suits everyday it can be argued that it is simple and easy. It takes away issue of employees waking up daily “Hmmm what can be classified as “smart casual” today?” as everybody’s understanding of a suit is pretty much identical worldwide.


On the other hand, our workers who prefer the plain clothes approach throw examples of the high-flying tech start-ups in Silicon Valley as proof that working in your own comfort can bring out the best results. Look at companies like Facebook, the CEO Mark Zuckerberg is known for his laissez-faire clothing approach of a comfort fitted plain t shirt and jeans- a dress code that is echoed throughout the company. Sitting at a desk Monday to Friday, working from a screen/telephone in a suit can lead to discomfort, then a lack of concentration, then poor productivity then eventually mistakes. We know it may all seem like a huge domino effect but it does happen!


9 – 5 vs. Flexi hours

This change is not as prominent however it has started to slowly creep into working life. 9 to 5 has always been the skeleton of most office jobs regardless of industry. We use the term “skeleton” as many employees know that in order to earn the promotion/ wage increase they are looking for, they need to work a few more hours before or after (or both) to get noticed. However, modernisation has led to changes in these set hours as bosses look to try and accommodate their employees more.


Only recently more and more office environments have begun to use flexible hours (known as flexi hours) as they have realised that if the jobs in question are complete to a high standard and in time, it doesn’t really matter what set 8 hours the employees are there for. We stress “set 8 hours” because unfortunately even if you can complete the 8 hour job in 4 hours, the bosses are not going to allow you to leave early and still get paid the same amount… life isn’t that simple!


The benefit to employees? Happier staff who can shape their lives around their own personal needs. From gym sessions to the school run to dodging the costly peak hour train times- flexi hours allows staff to keep their life in balance and cut costs associated with the strict 9 to 5. The benefit to employers? Flexi hours can be used as a perk of the job to keep high performing staff committed to the company and also can be used as a tool to lure staff to the firm from their bitter rivals. In an age where staff turnover for many industries are so high, some bosses do not mind it at all. In fact, some bosses go as far as welcoming a high staff turnover as it shows the firm are constantly looking to improve! However, the most important factor is that the high performing staff are the ones who continue to remain with the company throughout the changes.


Contrary to belief, there are some who still prefer the 9 to 5 skeleton as it brings structure to everyone’s day and allows the company to work productively as a force together rather than in dribs and drabs over the course of the day. To an extent, we can see what they mean. Imagine trying to have a team meeting at 9am only to find out Tom is in for 10 because he had the school run, Jane is in 12 because she was out for a few drinks last night and Jack is in for 11 because, well, he wants to? It can be disruptive and lead to unproductivity if the freedom is abused.


Tune in next week for part B to this blog. Your engagement allows us to continue serving this community week in week out. If you are a candidate with an experience on a recruiter that you want to share, or even looking for a new recruiter to work with- check us out on www.reviewedo.com.


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