Out with the Old, In with the New Preferred Work Attire in Japanese Workplace

Over the past few decades, one of the most interesting things that foreign tourists in Japan may have easily noticed is that everyone seems to be wearing uniforms. Despite differences in their preferences and interests, it is said that Japanese culture gives a high regard on the value of uniformity. For instance, almost every fresh graduate who are looking forward to land a job in Japan would always opt to wear a conventional and dark-colored business attire. This came to be known as the “recruit suit”. It manifests the desire of Japanese professionals to belong rather than outshine other candidates during the interview. In order to conform to social standards and to increase their chances of being hired, these job seekers are inclined to wear suits that more or less look the same even if there are no dress codes imposed.

 

Photo credit to: https://www.japantimes.co.jp

Wearing of uniforms in Japan signifies professionalism. For the Japanese nationals, there is a suitable work clothing for every kind of job. Employees that often interact with the public and meet client outside their regular place of business are required to dress up in a semi-formal attire which is considered a symbol of a person’s sincerity and respect towards others. For blue-collar workers, their uniforms are practically expected to be comfortable and safe.

 

However, recent reports suggest that Japan’s social penchant for uniformity is slowly declining. It seems that companies are now more open to the idea of embracing diversity among their workforce. In fact, Coca-Cola Bottlers Japan Inc. which currently has 17,000 registered workers made an announcement this month that it would authorize its regular employees to come to work simply in their jeans and sneakers. Nevertheless, their factory workers must continue to wear their safety uniforms inside company premises while sales staff are still expected to put on their business suits based on the company’s prescribed dress guidelines. All the other employees are now given the option to wear their preferred clothing subject to some regulations. According to Coca-Cola’s new company rules, polo shirts for men and sleeveless tops for women are allowed. But shorts, T-shirts, sandals or ripped jeans are strictly prohibited at work. Based on an article published in Asahi Shimbun, the reason behind this remarkable change in their company policy is to promote individuality among the employees. In relaxing their company rules on work attire, the company aspires to increase productivity and work efficiency by improving communication and confidence among the different employees at work.

 

Reference:

Keeping up appearances in the workplace in Japan

Japan Loves Uniforms

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