Business attire, casual, or possibly smart casual after all? – Dress code policy at Roche in Germany

business, casual, dress code, roche, careers
Our employees are demonstrating…

Fashion magazines and advice columns fall over themselves when it comes to questions about how to dress appropriately for work. Yellow is the perfect colour for a job interview, we are told. What we are not told, however, is why. Red is to be avoided at all costs: red is a colour that provokes strong emotions. That – at least – is a little easier to understand. When it comes to style, it would appear that nowadays anything goes, from casual to creative casual and smart casual, not forgetting business casual. Unlike days gone by, when men wore an obligatory suit and tie and women were confined to prim suits, today it would appear that anything from dark jeans to chino trousers, t-shirts and jumpers is perfectly acceptable. How did this come about, we asked ourselves, and what about the dress code at Roche in Germany? By taking a look back at the past as well as the Roche sites in Grenzach, Mannheim, Penzberg and Waiblingen, we set out about finding answers to these questions which we are going to present within a small editorial series on our Roche career blog. So let's start with Roche Pharma AG in Grenzach.

The crazy 70s and a more relaxed attitude to dress policies

casual, business, roche, careers, dress code
…that casual is indeed chic!

The first tentative relaxation of the dress code can be traced back to the turbulence of the 1970s. One result of the oil crisis was that heating and air-conditioning systems in many offices had to be switched off, creating an opportunity for employees to win small sartorial concessions when it came to what they could wear to work. On top of this, “Casual Friday”, which had made its way to Europe from America, also helped banish staid, overly formal attire from the office, with lighter, sportier clothing taking its place.

This development gained further momentum with the “new economy” and the dotcom bubble at the end of the 1990s, which was also instrumental in making leisure clothing such as jeans, sneakers and t-shirts perfectly acceptable as clothes to wear in the office.

Casual is chic! – The “in” thing at Roche Pharma AG in Grenzach

business, casual, dress code, roche, careers
The chairman of Roche Pharma AG in Grenzach, Dr. Hagen Pfundner, demonstrates that it is – according to the order "dress appropriately" – absolutely legitimate to roll up the sleeves.

But what is the Roche Perspective on this topic? When we put this question to Roche Pharma AG in Germany we learned that, in Grenzach, people roll up their sleeves – quite literally. Where a tie was once de rigueur, today casual is chic. “Dress appropriately” is the order of the day. If you are going to spend the day at your desk, dress for comfort. Jumpers and jeans are fine, as long as there are no rips or holes: we’re not slaves to every trend, after all. “Appropriate” for everyday use is what you feel comfortable in. And feeling comfortable helps ensure a relaxed working atmosphere.

business, casual, dress code, roche, careers
Roche employees at Grenzach representing a "feel good" culture where everyone is comfortable and can make his or her contribution.

If there’s an important meeting coming up, however, then it’s out with the jeans at Grenzach, and on with the freshly pressed suit and – who knows? – perhaps even a tie for the gentlemen. This approach to dress style is one which has been adopted by and is very visible on the management team: onstage in perfect business attire, afterwards more relaxed – jeans in the office are not something to be afraid of. After all, what Roche represents is a lively “feel-good” culture where everyone is comfortable and can make his or her contribution, not a stiff working atmosphere.

Extremes are best avoided in job interviews

When it comes to the perfect outfit for a job interview, applicants are well advised to avoid extremes at either end of the dress spectrum. So no jeans or hoodies (too sloppy), and perhaps – for you personally – a tie would be too constricting. Some tried-and-tested advice: it’s not about dressing up or disguising yourself, it’s about dressing appropriately for the situation at hand. Be true to yourself – be authentic.

And “authentic” is the perfect word to use when we turn our attention next week to the map of Roche in Germany, moving south-east from the extreme south-west to Penzberg, and take another close look at how “Casual Friday” is experienced at Roche in Germany. Stay tuned!

Tags: Career Blog, Germany