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Swedish bank bans sneakers

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 22 Sep 2011, 12:04

Published: 14 Sep 2011 09:40 GMT+02:00
Updated: 22 Sep 2011 12:04 GMT+02:00

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In a mail sent to staff, Per Elcar, head of a division of Handelsbanken Capital Markets, referred to the end of the summer and explained his decision to enforce a stricter dress code.

"We all have different ways to keep us alert mentally... but to create a base level and to develop a common value system we have decided to have rules for how we dress at work," Per Elcar wrote in his mail, published in full on Realtid.se.

Elcar underlined that the division "works in a competitive environment" and identified sneakers as the item of clothing which should stay out of the office at all times, even on "casual Fridays".

Elcar confirmed to Realtid.se that he had sent the mail.

"I think it comes across clearly that you should have decent clothes," he said.

Elcar continued to develop his idea of what constitutes "decent clothing" by ruling out jeans and calling for a shirt, "or something similar for women, a pair of nice trousers and a pair of shoes which suit".

These rules are to be enforced immediately and would apply on Monday to Thursday, with some relaxation of the dress code on Friday.

"On Fridays it is a question of nice jeans and a polo shirt is okay, but keep it neat. Sneakers you can leave at home even on Fridays," he advised.

Story continues below…

When asked by Realtid.se how he dressed on "casual Fridays", the 49-year-old from Täby replied:

"I always have the same thing on me: suit, shirt and tie."

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

11:29 September 14, 2011 by Åskar
Can you wear trainers instead?
11:37 September 14, 2011 by Beavis
They should spend more time fixing their customer service and less on caring what they wear. Unless staff are customer facing they should wear what they like. Its more important to concentrate on how they do their work. Making staff wear what you want them to simply demotivates them for no reason. The best innovative companies have always since the 1970s shunned formal dress codes and have thrived (in non customer facing situations) The idiot who proposed this should also look into banning the Juit (Suit jacket with jeans) This was a 1980s fad from London that continued inSweden and Denmark and is not acceptable business wear!
14:00 September 14, 2011 by Tammybonny
About time.........
14:37 September 14, 2011 by SimonDMontfort
...quite right too.

We need to see far more plimsoll, and carpet slipper-wearing bank staff - not to mention 'Rolling Stones World Tour' t-shirts. Lol!!

Per Elcar is absolutely right that the way staff are dressed, at work, plants an idea in customers' minds, about how much confidence they can have in an organisation
15:01 September 14, 2011 by Jes
I am happy that , at least , there is one more fellow who cared about decent dressing -at work or anywhere .

I have never undserstood why some one who works in any respectable office should wear "trainers" at work . I once felt disrespeced when I went for a medical check up and the doctor come in army shorts a sleeveless top and sandals .. I found myself sarcasiticall asking him if was so sick I had gone to beach insted of the hospital . He took it for a joke !

We all have our private lives where we choose what is "comfortable " . But when we are out and working , we must be prepared to adapt to the enviroment . In professions such as banking , finance management , law , sales , medicine , etc , image is very important . All trained public relations consultants know and will advise that clothers create the first impression.

There is a good reason why the institutions where image and discpline are a must wear iniforms . This one way to make sure that careless dressers have no chance to bring others down by coming in with torn jeans and the like.
15:16 September 14, 2011 by Svensksmith
I suppose flip flops are out of the question.
15:17 September 14, 2011 by Liefje
shodl have done it earlier and in more companies in sweden.

I do not feel fen beeign served at the bank by a beach dressed personel-

last month I have seen one dressed in shorts, bahama tshirt and toe slippers with fungus nails...

and this week a girl was wearing tights ( i guess it was leggins), tshirt and sneakers...
15:52 September 14, 2011 by summo
I think it's unimportant for everyday workers, but it important for say the bank manager to be suited and booted, it projects an image and lets folk know who's boss! Sometimes you don't need to speak to a monkey :)
16:57 September 14, 2011 by Grokh
yeah we all know that well dressed bankers are not crooks -_-x
17:42 September 14, 2011 by bjorkon
And School Uniform next please. Would save us a fortune, and save valuable minutes every morning fighting the kids.
00:48 September 15, 2011 by Beavis
Just have a look at the most sucessful companies over the last 20 years..none of the people there wear suits or dress formally. Making people have a dress code stiffles their creativity. The modern office would not exist if it had been left to the suits. Take a certain copier company x who invented the mouse, the netowrk,the printer, the GUI.. none of those inventions were by people who dressed formally. The ones who did said "were a copier company" and lost the company trillions.. Sure if you face customers, dress smart, otherwise it is not important at all. Jes your either winding us up or living in 1953
10:23 September 15, 2011 by summo
yeah, OK goldman sachs bankers whould be wearing strippy suits with arrows on (ALLEGEDLY), but most aren't!

As long as what you wearing isn't distracting it doesn't matter, it has no impact on productivity, but there are safety issue in some industries etc..
11:56 September 15, 2011 by Åskar
I am very happy that I work in an environment where a bohemian attitude is more or less required.
12:23 September 15, 2011 by Jes
Come on @Beavis !

We are not talking about one or eleven individual "inventors" dress code . If we were to go by your logic , some of us would be walking about without underwear just because Gandhi did not use them or not care about personal hygiene on grounds that greats like Mao and Einstain did not give a damn about it

Plus , the point is not that a grave-digger must wear the same dress like the undertaker who handles the funeral .

It would also be absurd to ask the Bank staff that work in the Bank gymn to come in suits or high heels .

Just you relax and get it : it is all about dressing appropriately depending on the job that one has chosen to do .

Blame it on civilization if you like .
11:49 September 16, 2011 by karex
Like it or not, the way we present ourselves has a large impact on how much professional respect and trust we receive. It's human nature. It is appropriate to have dress codes in businesses. For one, the lack of one leads to personal interpretations and I have seen women wearing clothing with half their bosoms hanging out or which barely covered their behinds in a professional environment (and I'm talking about industry here).

My job does not require me to meet customers on a regular basis. However I learned decades ago that my own colleagues show less respect for my judgement if I'm dressed like I'm ready to go jogging or to the beach since it gives me the appearance of not taking my job seriously. So I wear suits at all times, even on casual Fridays.
13:51 September 17, 2011 by Beavis
Aha so you do live in 1953! When I go into a bank I care not what they look like nor what they wear. It is totally irrelivant to me. What I do care about is the customer service and how good a job they do for me. If I was to care more about what they wore that would make me a simpleton.
14:51 September 17, 2011 by Jes
@Beavis , it matters less if you don´t care ; you don`t make the rules but civilization does.
22:43 September 17, 2011 by Acroyear

At my bank, the staff all wear hooded tops and smoke crack cocaine. To me, that's taking the "bohemian attitude" thing a bit too far. But the customer service is good.
12:55 September 18, 2011 by muscle
considering the weather in sweden, well let them enjoy at least these things :)
22:18 September 25, 2011 by sjuttiosjusköterskorpåsjukhuset
I once worked as a bank teller when I was very young. In those days anyway, we had to stand all day, no chair was allowed in the teller's workstation. BUT, we WERE allowed to wear comfortable shoes, even if it meant sneakers. Thank G-d for this, because it was hard on the feet with even comfortable sneakers. Handelsbanken should be boycotted until they change this ridiculous policy. The public rarely gets to view the teller wearing sneakers anyway. And when those tellers have a host of podiatry problems, Per Elcar and Handelsbanken should be billed and fined by the Swedish government for enforcing an occupational hazard on their bank tellers. There's enough stress being a bank teller, why make the job even harder for them? Have some compassion for G-d's sake.
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