In her Washington Post column, Vicky Hallett makes the pitch for allowing employees to wear workout clothes once a week, aptly named: Workout Wear Friday. She argues, “People in fitness gear are more likely to exercise — or at least to think about it.”
Workout Wear Friday can be part of company’s wellness program and help promote a corporate culture of health and wellness. Unlike many other wellness resources and events, Workout Wear Friday is a zero cost employee benefit.
Does wearing workout clothes actually have an influence on health and wellness behavior?
A 2004 University of Wisconsin study found that on average, employees wearing casual clothes walked an additional 491 steps each day. Wearing fitness clothes likely involves wearing more comfortable shoes, and comfortable shoes encourages more walking and movement around the office.
For many companies, allowing employees to wear yoga clothes to work may seem like a stretch, but not too long ago Casual Friday was just as foreign.
Casual Friday reached mainstream acceptance largely because of a Levi’s public relations campaign. In 1992, a Levi’s public relations team sent a brochure titled “A Guide to Casual Business Wear” to 25,000 human resources managers. The brochure explained (and promoted) Casual Friday attire and ushered in a new and acceptable casual workplace dress code.
The trend of wearing Aloha shirts to work in Hawaii can also be traced to an effective marketing campaign. In 1966 the Hawaiian garment industry was trying to promote sales of their clothing and introduced Aloha Friday to encourage Hawaiian business to allow employees to wear Aloha shirts to work.
Will more companies start promoting Workout Wear Friday as part of a corporate wellness program? Will an effective retail marketing campaign be needed to make Workout Wear Friday acceptable? Lululemon – we’re waiting on you!
For more on Workout Wear Friday: http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/workout-wear-friday/2013/12/30/50ea53cc-6dc5-11e3-a523-fe73f0ff6b8d_story.html
For more on the marketing history of Levi’s and Aloha shirts: http://www.marketplace.org/topics/business/workplace-culture/dress-code-history-business-casual