Casual attire is more common than ever in workplaces today, and many companies that still require employees to dress formally will have "casual days" during which workers are permitted to dress in more comfortable clothing. Jeans are a popular clothing choice for casual work wear, and increasing numbers of studies are showing that wearing jeans at work creates tangible benefits for both companies and their employees.
According to a 1995 study conducted by private firm Evans Research Associates on behalf of the Levi Strauss Company and the Society for Human Resource Management, improved employee morale is greatly improved by allowing casual wear, including jeans, in the workplace. In the study, 85 percent of respondents indicated higher morale, and 82 percent considered permission to wear jeans at work to be a supplementary benefit.
Improved Productivity and Employee Retention
The same 1995 study reported that 45 percent of respondents experienced heightened productivity as a direct result of being allowed to wear jeans at work. In addition, two-thirds of respondents felt that being allowed to wear jeans at work helped the company attract and retain employees. Respondents felt that the implementation of a casual dress code signaled a progressive approach to human resource management.
Improved Employee Health
In a 2004 study, the American Council on Exercise found that people who wear jeans to work were more active during the course of their work day. Participants were tracked, and the study found that people took 8 percent more steps over the course of the day when wearing jeans at work. That translates to an average of 25 more calories burned per day, which is enough to offset the average American adult's annual weight gain of 0.4 to 1.8 lbs. per year.
Decreased Employee Costs
The Evans Research Associates study also found that 72 percent of respondents reported saving both time and money as a result of being allowed to wear jeans at work. Reasons for this trend include a lower average price for jeans than for formal work attire, in addition to less time and money spent on ironing, clothing care and maintenance.