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Owners say staff dress down for growing success.

A UK-wide survey of owner-managers has revealed that a third of small businesses with a dress-down policy believe it has brought a significant boost to their productivity.

The Bank of Scotland Business Banking survey, conducted by the Opinion Research Business, also revealed a major growth in firms adopting a relaxed approach to their dress code.

More than three quarters (79 per cent) of small businesses which have a dress-down policy introduced it within the last 12-months.

And it is businesses in London and Birmingham that are most likely to have a dress down policy (26 per cent and 24 per cent respectively) whilst Scottish Businesses are least likely (13 per cent).

Bosses in Manchester are the most likely to attribute their dress-down policy to an increase in productivity (40 per cent).

Bank of Scotland business banking managing director, Tom Abraham, said: 'Starched collars and formal business attire are no longer the de rigeur of big business practice, and it is interesting to see the same trends developing with SMEs -with some positive results.'

Almost one in five small businesses (19 per cent) -over 700,000 across the UK -currently have a dress-down policy ranging from open-neck shirts from Monday to Thursday and casual attire on a Friday, to a daily 'wear what you want' approach.

Interestingly, almost a third of owner-managers believe their dress-down policy has led to an increase in business productivity.

Over half of those in the professional sector (53 per cent), for example, reckon dressing-down has boosted productivity. Just one per cent of all businesses surveyed think it has led to a decrease.

Dressing-down is most prevalent in manufacturing and engineering. Firms headed by women are also more likely to dress-down 23 per cent compared with 18 per cent.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 20, 2003
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