Remote working, flexible hours and offices containing slides, spas and swimming pools; we’re definitely not traditional anymore.

The modern era has changed the way we operate in business, allowing creativity to breed and companies to challenge convention, all to keep up with consumer expectations and the focus on company brand.

Unsurprisingly, this new working environment has enabled many professionals to alter their appearance and dress code. It depends which industry you work in, but most employers now allow their staff to dress in casual attire on selected days, or even every day. This is why recent news of Nicola Thorp’s dismissing has become somewhat hard to swallow.

In case you hadn’t heard, the receptionist temp was sent home from her first day at Accountancy firm PwC for refusing to change into a pair of heels, stating unfair discrimination as the reason behind this. In this case there were no health implications related to heeled shoes, just Thorp’s refusal to change on principle.

Unsurprisingly, this latest news has gone viral and reinforces a contemporary question, should salespeople still be expected to dress in a certain way? In companies that encourage dress down-wear this is no issue. Men and women wear their own clothes equally, but in the sales field it’s always been a different story.

The role of the individual is important in sales because it’s all about investing in that one person, before you even hear about the product. Salespeople have, and maybe always will, be at ease conveying their charisma and personality to their prospect wearing a traditional suit or business wear, because it comes with the territory.

Professionals in other career specialisms may use their outfit choice as a way to inject a bit of colour or personality into their appearance, which can help people warm to them quicker. But in terms of exchanging contracts for big business deals, it’s unsurprising that you’d fail to be taken seriously negotiating large sums of money wearing ripped jeans and a slogan t-shirt.

Your behaviour and what you wear represents your company, so personally I’d feel more comfortable portraying the professionalism of my organisation through wearing traditional attire. It’s fair enough for companies who do things differently, and if that works for them, great. But in the sales field, I cannot envisage too many changes to the expected appearance of salespeople, at least not any time soon.

What’s your take on it though, would you do a multi-million pound business deal with someone who didn’t dress professionally or would it not matter? Times and opinions are changing, but what still stands from global companies however, is the crucial business decisions that are affected by the professionalism of others.

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