• Three in ten vote to abandon formal office clothing post-pandemic
  • 24% want to keep formal workwear rules in place
  • Smart casual still the preferred dress code of choice for nearly half

Specialist recruiter Randstad has revealed that three in ten (28%) Brits want to ditch smart casual or formal office dress codes once the pandemic ends and office commutes return.

In a poll of 586 jobseekers*, 48% would like to keep the pre-pandemic smart casual dress code, while nearly a quarter (24%) would like to ditch the video-call friendly loungewear for the opportunity to suit-up for that authentic ‘back-to-the-office’ feeling.

Keeping those working comfort levels high, 20% are hoping to don ‘relaxed’ clothing, and 8% want dress codes thrown out completely, replacing suits and dresses with shorts and flip flops.

responses: what are you wearing to the office post-pandemic?

smart casual 48%
formal/business attire
anything goes (shorts/flip flops)

While dress codes alter by profession, some employers may choose to revert back to pre-pandemic clothing rules. Dressing for success has been a notion that the pandemic has diluted, as the nation worked from bedrooms, living rooms and makeshift office setups. 

longing for loungewear?

With the casual Friday feeling being standard practice for many homeworkers throughout the entire week, the idea of ‘getting dressed for work ‘is perceived as tiring or unnecessary as commuting a long distance to a physical meeting, according to the new findings.  

Last year, loungewear and leggings sales spiked by 1,303 per cent according to new data from John Lewis, as the lines between loungewear and work wear slowly began to blur. For the 28% who are keen to keep it comfy going forward and prevent cashing out on office friendly clothes that typically aren't as comfortable, they may be in luck.

Comparing attitudes to workplace attire with colleagues across the water, a recent Randstad US survey discovered that a third (33%) would turn down a job offer or quit their existing job if they were required to wear formal business clothing. The same percentage would go as far to say that they would choose a company with an informal dress code over a $5,000 (£3,600)  increase in salary.

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While there are proven benefits to more smart or formal office dress codes such as enhancing credibility, boosting confidence and visual uniformity, we’ve found that employees tend to associate how they dress with a certain mindset that allows them to work more productively. For example, some of our teams hold dress themed sales days - something we’ve found really boosts productivity, when an element of fun and a central theme is injected into the working day.

Dressing for success post-pandemic will have different meanings based on the individual and industry. At Randstad we want to concentrate on the more impactful drivers we know employees want when choosing an employer; such as work life balance, training, job security and pleasant work atmosphere.

Laurel Dines
Randstad HR Operations Director

notes to editors

*Results from a June 2021 poll of 586 jobseekers visiting Randstad.co.uk


Randstad is one of largest recruitment and HR service providers the world and is active in 38 countries.  In 2019, Randstad helped 2,000,000 candidates find a job with one of our 280,000 clients - training more than 350,000 people.  Randstad has approximately 38,000 employees and generated revenues of close to €24bn.  It was founded in 1960 and is headquartered in Diemen, the Netherlands.  Randstad N.V. is listed on the NYSE Euronext (symbol: RAND.AS). 


Randstad UK helps organisations recruit the best talent and also offers flexible labour resource management and managed service provision (MSP) - enabling companies to streamline processes and reduce costs.  It employs 1,500 people, working in 150 locations across the country.  Randstad UK is particularly active in the public sector: Randstad Education provides teachers and support staff for schools and colleges, working with 5,000 schools, providing work for over 15,000 teachers and teaching assistants every week; Randstad Care provides nurses, care workers and qualified social workers for the public and private sector, delivering over 2,000,000 hours of care each year.  For more information, see www.randstad.co.uk.