NAO dress codeIn February 2014, the NAO launched a scheme called ‘NAO Ideas’ which allows everyone in the office to put forward their vision for how the office could alter its practices for the better. One of the first ideas posted was that we implement Casual Fridays. To the surprise of many, it swiftly got approved by the leadership team and came into practice. Previously, the only times you’d get to see your managers in trainers and jeans were when they dressed down for the team Christmas lunch but now it’s a possibility every single week.

I’ll say upfront that it isn’t mandatory¬†– so colleagues who are particularly committed to formalwear aren’t compelled to swap their suits and ties for t-shirts and sweaters.

Like the rest of the office dress code, there aren’t any hard and fast rules. I have known of directors who are offended by shorts and sandals and staff who’ve worn them just as provocation.

Though, just as with ‘regular business dress’ though, common sense should prevail. If you’re thinking of wearing something outrageous, it might be best to first consider whether it might make your colleagues uncomfortable and, therefore, whether you ought to proceed. A little bit of light-hearted fun with flip-flops may occur from time-to-time but what’s seen can’t be unseen and you will still be working together once Casual Friday is over!

Another thing I should mention is that Casual Friday rules only apply when you’re based in the office. At the client, your regular client site rules apply. This is all in the name of professionalism¬†– though it can seem like a bit of a rough deal when you’re out at a client for a long stretch and long absence has more than once led to my forgetting, on my return to the office, that I was entitled to dress-down at all. Fortunately, as I’ve mentioned above, this is not an important failure and no-one remarked on my missed opportunity.

I would definitely recommend making the most of the Friday dress code whenever you can and however you see fit, whether it’s in order to express yourself or just to reduce your dry cleaning bill. I think it’s been a really positive initiative for the office and almost certainly the best Idea that the NAO’s had to date.

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