"People who dress better are typically treated better at work," says David McKnight, a New York City-based image consultant. "They are usually given more responsibility and are shown much more respect."

THE RULES OF WORKPLACE STYLE

In today’s business-casual workplace and organizations operating from co-work spaces, suits and ties and formal dresses no longer seem to be the standard, not even in financial institutions; however, the way a person dresses to the workplace still matters and to a large extent determines how they will be spoken to and treated.

“People who dress better are typically treated better at work,” says David McKnight, a New York City-based image consultant. “They are usually given more responsibility and are shown much more respect.”

Here are tips on what to wear and what not to wear — so you can make the best impression on your boss, colleagues and clients.

Business casual isn’t a fashion free-for-all,” says Susan Bixler, president and founder of the Bixler Consulting Group. The Atlanta-based consultant has created guidelines for business-casual dress for those just starting out, workers at mid-career and those eyeing the executive suite.

The “baseline” look starts with the three Big Nos

  1. No flip-flops
  2. No jeans
  3. No visible tattoos

Yes to:

  1. Tailored trousers
  2. long-sleeve shirts or tops

The “midstream” look is similar but with an emphasis on higher-quality fabrics while the executive version ups the sartorial ante by recommending jackets for men and trouser-style suits for women.

“Any time you want to add authority, put on the jacket,” says Bixler, the author of seven books, including The New Professional Image: From Business Casual to the Ultimate Power Look.

The General Rule:

In journalism, the editor would always as you “leave out”, if you’re unsure; the rule is different when it comes to dressing and style. If you are to attend an interview or a business meeting and are unsure about the dress code, you should ask in advance, then again, you can’t possibly be faulted for appearing in a jacket or suit. Wearing a suit to an interview, meeting or work is a nonverbal way of communicating the fact that you are in for serious business.

Curb excesses.

Clothes that are too tight, overly generous makeup, too much jewelry, and accessories as well as ‘loud’ fragrance.

Never show up to work in shorts, ripped jeans (not even on a Friday)

Avoid wearing dusty, unpolished shoes to work.

When it comes to dressing, women have more options while the playing field for men is quite narrow and straightforward.

Too Much Skin

“Edgy looks, especially those involving the baring of cleavage, skin or tattoos, rarely cut it at the office, unless you happen to work in a trend-conscious field like advertising or fashion.

“When you’re not sure whether something is appropriate for work, then there’s a 98 percent chance that it’s not,” McKnight says.

The Whole Look

Choosing the right clothing is just one component of your professional look, which includes good grooming and hygiene, as well as being well-rested and mentally ready to face the day.

“There are so many things we don’t have control over, but what we can control is the image of professionalism we show to the world,” Bixler says.

Building a great workplace structure

DEVELOPING A GREAT WORKPLACE CULTURE

There was a time when the brand value of an organization and remuneration paid to workers made an organization a desirable place to work.

However, today’s workplace has evolved to the extent that fat pay cheques, generous tips, and bonuses can no longer attract or keep employees, especially when the workplace is toxic. Sadly, organizations lose great talents because of their failure to put a premium on developing a healthy organizational culture.

A healthy workplace culture is what attracts talents and imbues them with a sense of loyalty which binds them to the organization and makes them continually give their best to ensure the company stays in business and is profitable.

What constitutes workplace culture? you might ask; Workplace culture refers to those intangible attributes of an organization that makes it a great or toxic place to work in, these attributes are largely defined by the ideology that drives the organization.

These ideologies are often reflected how employees related to management as well as one another. Inclusivity Consultant and Behavioural Scientist, Dr Pragyal Agarwal maintains that positive workplace culture improves teamwork, raises the morale, increases productivity and efficiency, and enhances retention of the workforce.

Job satisfaction, collaboration, and work performance are all enhanced. And, most importantly, a positive work environment reduces stress in employees. The following are simple ways an organization can improve their workplace culture:

1. Communication and collaboration: a workplace culture that values and encourages open and honest communication, feedback and teamwork are all vital for improving workplace culture.

2. Continued learning opportunities: knowledge sharing, brainstorming sessions as well as social interactions within the office all add up to improve the workplace culture of an organization.

3. All-inclusive work environment: value, support and encourage all employees regardless of gender, ethnicity, social or religious orientation. All employees should have equal access to growth and advancement opportunities, bonuses and general goodwill.

4. Establish trust: employees should be able to confide in management and have honest conversations with one another without fear of being judged. Again, trust that you have a good and dependable team.

5. Make onboarding of new staff easy and warm: get an old and friendly team member to take the new staff around and acquaint them with the rest of the team, answer their questions and help set up their workspace. A great workplace culture takes time, effort and dedication to develop, but it is worth it. The first step is to have frank a conversation with your team and communicate your vision for the company to them in clear terms and ensure they identify with it; once this is achieved, the rest will easily fall in place.