Canadians Say 'Business Casual' Is Far Enough

May 27, 2004 ( - Even though Canadian employees may have "Margaritaville" stuck in their head this summer, their companies do not want them dressing the part.

More than eight out of 10 Canadian firms polled who already have a year-round business casual dress code do not want employees showing up for work even more casually dressed this summer. Additionally, even though the warm sunshine may look inviting, 78% of the 150 Canadian organizations surveyed by human resources outsourcing and consulting firm Hewitt Associates do not have official alternate work schedules during the summer months.

“Many organizations expressed the need to remind their employees of casual dress standards and reiterate rules for business appropriate attire in a season where those general standards can sometimes be overlooked,” said Leslie Dutton, Communications Practice Leader, Hewitt Associates. “With the change in temperature, it is always a good idea for employers to reinforce and communicate the ‘no flip-flop’ rule as summer approaches.”

That is not to say companies are not flexible, as Hewitt found most Canadian impose limits on the amount of earned vacation days that can be taken off all at once.

Also, 22% of companies are planning on a bit of flexibility in their summer schedules. Of that group:

  • more than half (57%) provide flexible work hours and/or earlier start and end times over the course of the workday,
  • 42% offer alternate schedules (such as closing the office early and offering extra time off), and
  • 27% allow a condensed workweek.

However, these alternative or reduced schedules are contingent on business operations being able to run smoothly with a reduced staff, Hewitt found. Not surprisingly, employers with a summer schedule policy agree that it is a much appreciated employee benefit.