Ditch the dress code

Richard Branson stands in front of a wall of cut off ties at Miss Ricky's at Virgin Hotels Chicago
Virgin.com
A close up of Richard Branson smiling, looking at the camera
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 29 November 2021

I’ve never found fitting in to be very fun, and I’ve never been very interested in dress codes or corporate culture. At Virgin, we know that it’s our brilliant people that set us apart, and it’s their unique personalities that bring the brand to life and help us deliver heart-felt experiences.

This is why at Virgin Management, we’ve never pushed dress codes and why we introduced flexible working years ago. People should always be able to be their true self at work, but it’s difficult to do this if you’re told what to wear and how to act. I’ve always hated ties and sometimes like to prove a point by cutting them off! We even have a collection of them on display at Virgin Hotels Chicago. It may seem like a trivial thing to do, but being comfortable and relaxed at work shouldn’t be underestimated – and cutting ties helps this point to cut-through!

Richard Branson cuts Jim Grubb's tie at a Virgin Disruptors event in San Francisco
Virgin.com

In the past two years, businesses all over the world have realised the benefits of remote and hybrid working, and have realised that suits and ties do not magically increase performance. Forcing people to toe the corporate line doesn’t make for a welcoming workplace, and conformity doesn’t encourage creativity. People will have a lot more fun (and get more work done) when they don’t have to worry about unnecessary formalities and hierarchies. At the end of the day, someone’s attitude, creativity and passion tops presentations every time.

With people returning to the office and navigating a new world of working, it’s time to drop the dress code for good. Encourage your team members to wear whatever makes them feel most comfortable, and whatever helps them feel true to themselves.

Richard Branson dressed as a pilot in a line of people exiting a Virgin Atlantic plane
Virgin Atlantic

I hope our people enjoy working for us because our ways of working are more relaxed and because we celebrate the things that make us all unique. In Virgin By Design, we share lots of examples about how our people are empowered to make their own decisions and we delve into all of the different ways it benefits business.

 You can pick up a copy for yourself here.