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Scotland Means Business: Bosses get a dressing down; Firms headed by women are more likely to adopt a dressing-down policy.

SMALL businesses in Scotland are being left behind by a dress-down workplace revolution, despite claims that the informal approach boosts productivity.

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

London leads the way with more than one in four firms (26 per cent) allowing employees to cast off suits, collars and ties in favour of less formal attire for at least part of the week.

But Scotland is trailing at half that rate in the dress down stakes.

And although there are now an estimated 700,000 UK businesses with a dress down policy, relatively few are in Scotland.

Dress codes ranges from open neck shirts from Monday to Thursday and casual attire on a Friday, to a daily ``wear what you want'' approach.

The Bank of Scotland Business Banking survey, conducted by Opinion Research Business, revealed a growing trend towards firms adopting a relaxed approach to dress code.

Four out of five small businesses which have a dress down policy introduced it within the last 12 months.

Almost a third of ownermanagers believe their dress down policy has led to an increase in business productivity.

Just over half of those in the professional sector (53%), for example, reckon dressing-down has boosted productivity.

And only one per cent of all businesses surveyed think it has resulted in a decrease in productivity.

Dressing-down is most prevalent in the manufacturing and engineering sector (29%) and among professionals (27%).

The service (13%) and construction (16%) sectors are the least likely to have a dress-down policy.

Firms headed by women are also more likely to have adopted a dress down policy at 23 per cent compared with 18 per cent of male owner-managers. Age also plays a role with 21 per cent of managers aged under 56 having adopted a dress-down policy compared to just 15 per cent over that age.

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.

``It is interesting to see the same trends developing with small and medium-sized enterprises with some positive results.''
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Sep 25, 2003
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