As the summer brings sweltering heat, office dress is shifting. Skirts and sleeves are shorter, sandals are prevalent, and both seasoned professionals and the summer’s crop of interns test the boundaries of casual dress.
But as office dress codes become more relaxed, some employers worry that the work ethic will weaken. Will wearing polo shirts to the office discourage employees from staying past 6 p.m.? Will dressing in khakis instead of a power suit make a manager less likely to invite clients to lunch? Will wearing sandals lessen someone’s motivation to negotiate a deal?
Some employers give their employees leeway to dress up or down, asking mostly that they “be presentable” in the office. At the Miami law firm of Kluger Kaplan, lawyers often walk the hallways in nice jeans and a button-down shirt. But when they go to court, Alan Kluger urges attorneys to dress the part and insists it creates confidence and credibility: “If you’re in front of a jury, you want to be the lawyer they want to hire. Dress makes a difference in the courthouse, it just does.”
An attorney’s work generally requires long hours of deep concentration. Therefore, it is no surprise that we are perpetually sitting at our desks. However, recent studies have shown that sitting for long periods of time can be detrimental to both our physical and mental health.
In fact, in a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Dr. James Levine, the director of the Mayo Clinic-Arizona State University Obesity Solutions Initiative and the inventor of the treadmill desk, stated, “sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting.” Other research has shown that sitting for prolonged periods of time leads to a greater risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, muscular issues, and depression. For a detailed description of the health problems associated with constant sitting, watch this enlightening “TED talk” entitled, “Why Sitting is Bad for You.”
Given that many attorneys are often burning the midnight oil at their desks, and are therefore at a high risk of developing health problems associated with frequent sitting, what can law firms do to protect their attorneys against such health risks? Continue reading →