As Barclays bans jeans and flip-flops at its head office, is it right to clamp down on casual dress?

Should jeans and flip flops be banished from the boardroom? (Source: Getty)

Jeff Watt, director of Greentarget, says Yes.

Some might say that the clothes don’t make the man, but in my view, flip-flops are for the beach, not the boardroom.

The introduction of dress down Friday – or #DDF, as the Twitter generation might call it – resulted in most men simply adopting another form of corporate uniform (the ubiquitous – and to my mind awful – chinos and polo shirt).

But even this was better than the more liberal interpretation of #DDF we have witnessed over the last few years, with clothes better suited to festival going or a weekend surfing in Cornwall seen by some as appropriate office attire. So a return to a more business-like interpretation of casual dressing is welcome, as far as I’m concerned – as long as it doesn’t mean men once again looking like they’ve just stepped out of a Joules catalogue.

Your jeans don’t have to be ripped and your toes showing to add a bit of sartorial personality.

Nick Hungerford, chief executive and founder of Nutmeg, says No.

We hire our staff for their talents and enthusiasm, not their wardrobe. I don’t believe that there’s any reason for people to be uncomfortable at work. The line must be drawn somewhere – employees shouldn’t look scruffy and, personally, I’m not a fan of exposed toes – but otherwise, our policy is very flexible. As is the case at most firms, everyone has to pull up their sleeves and get involved.

A casual dress code also makes it easier for people to work together across departments. It gets rid of some of the false barriers that are sometimes put up when people of different levels of seniority have to work together.

With everyone in more relaxed attire, it reminds the team that we are all just people, with no separation between ourselves and our work personas. We give staff company t-shirts and a green hoodie when they join us, and some days the office is a sea of green. That helps us all feel like we’re part of something together.

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