Dress to Kill … or Kill the Dress? The New Survival Mantra at Workplace: TeamLease study

By Team YS|18th May 2010
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TeamLease releases its ongoing insight into "India's New World of Work" series on 'Grooming at Workplace'

Key Findings of the Survey

* Impact of grooming at workplace seems to have single handedly won the debate as over 89% of the respondents feel that ‘Style of dressing has a long term impact on the overall image of an Individual’. 3/4th respondents voiced their view that ‘well dressed people are taken more seriously at work place’. But 40% respondents from IT City - Bangalore disagree with the view that dressing style impacts one’s image at the workplace.

* On the other hand over 47% respondents feel that ‘implementing standard dress code in organization is strict, but necessary’. 62% Amdavadis agree, whereas only 37% and 39% Mumbaikars & Puneites respectively echo the sentiment. More than 1/2 of the respondents feel that it ‘enhances work productivity’ in both Kolkata & Pune.

* 53% of respondents from the IT domain feel that implementing standard dress code is ‘strict but necessary’, which is against the common myth that people from IT industry prefer to dress casually.

*   Respondents from customer interfacing background like marketing feel that ‘well dressed people are taken more seriously at workplace’.

*   Over 2/3rd respondents share their opinion that ‘Dressing style has a direct impact on the sexual harassment faced by women.’

*   72% respondents feel that ‘focus shifts from work when women frequently wear skirts & tops at workplace’. But only 53% respondents in IT hub- Bangalore feel the same way. But more than 80% respondents in Kolkata and Ahmedabad agree with it.

*   Overall 57% respondents feel ‘dressing is a frequent topic of gossip in office’. But in Kolkata, only 1/3rd respondents link the point to gossip inducing.

*   Overall 54% respondents feel that ‘incompetent/average performer try to cover up with meticulous dressing & accessories’. Around 3/4th respondents in Kolkata feel the same way. Of this only 47% respondents belong to the HR fraternity.

*   Overall 56% respondents feel that ‘formal dressing restricts interaction among people within the organization’. Around 3/4th respondents in Kolkata feel the same way. But work culture in Mumbai is very liberal, as majority of the respondents in Mumbai do not agree with this.

*   44% respondents from IT and Customer service feel that ‘women do not face more criticism for their dressing style’. Respondents from IT and Customer Service have more liberal views about individual dressing style. But 3/4th of the respondents working with support system agree with it.

*   Overall, 40% respondents feel that ‘formal dressing only apply to Senior Manager/Client interfacing employees’. More than ½ of the respondents from Hyderabad feel the same way. However, around 3/4th respondents from Kolkata do not agree with this.

*   Overall 44% respondents’ ‘organizations have strict dress code. Especially 60% organizations in Chennai, 59% organizations in Mumbai have strict dress code. But in Kolkata around 2/3rd of the organizations do not have strict dress code.

*   70% of the respondents agree that men spend as much time, if not more, focusing on grooming as do women. Breaks the myth that it’s only women with high vanity-focus.

India, May 18, 2010: TeamLease Services, India’s largest staffing company, today released the findings of its latest survey “Grooming at Workplace”. This is the 8th survey commissioned by TeamLease in a series to understand India’s new “World of Work”.

The study was undertaken across metros and key cities in India to understand the perspective of the Generation Y on grooming and appearances at workplace. Our 89% respondents feel that ‘style of dressing has long term impact on overall image of an Individual’. This reinstates that in India the saying is still relevant- ‘First impression is the last impression’ and thus, your appearance, mannerism, dressing sense does impact your work life. And apparently this was one subject where the citizens of Mars and Venus agreed to ‘importance of grooming at the workplace.’

The unsettling revelation is that over 66% respondents still feel that ‘women face more criticism for their dressing style’. More than 3/4th respondents in Chennai feel the same way, but in Mumbai and Bangalore only 59% and 58% respondents agree with it . And 69% respondents, both male and female, feel that ‘the attire style has direct impact on sexual harassment faced by women at workplace’.

On the other hand, this study embarks a debate on making formal dressing compulsory. As portion of respondents feel that formal dressing restricts free interaction amongst people within the organization whereas less than 50% view this as disciplinary dress code.

According to Surabhi Mathur-Gandhi, General Manager, Permanent Staffing, TeamLease Services, “Impact grooming is the new mantra of today’s workforce as the youth forge ahead with excelled performance and unbridled enthusiasm. Through the liberalization of outlook, our dress sense still maintains a code of conservatism and sensitivity to workplace ethics. Despite the tryst of West & East, today’s youth holds close the value of being viewed seriously. So dress as well, as seriously as you’d like to be taken, they say.”

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