Models wear casual business clothes during a "cool-biz" fashion show for middle aged office workers held at Lotte Department Store, Sogong-dong, Seoul, Sunday. / Yonhap
Keeping employees cool without consuming too much energy.
This is a mission facing companies around this time of the year as the summer heat is making employees lethargic.
With the Korea Meteorological Administration forecasting a hotter summer, a growing number of companies are introducing a summer casual dress code.
Some companies plan to allow employees to come to office wearing short pants and shirts.
The government has already allowed its employees to come to the office without a necktie.
SK hynix is one of the companies that have already employed the seasonal dress code. Since June 2, its employees have been allowed to work wearing short pants and shirts and casual shoes.
The company allowed it in August last year, but it moved it forward to early this month due to the earlier arrival of summer heat.
"It's a lot cooler in casual outfits and a lot more convenient to work in the office," an SK hynix official said.
Still, those who have to travel out of the company to meet with clients don't benefit from the policy, an SK hynix spokesman said.
SK C&C, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors have adopted similar "cool biz dress codes" since early this month, but they appear to be a bit more conservative compared with that of SK hynix. For instance, Hyundai doesn't allow short pants.
Samsung Group plans to allow employees to wear clothes suitable for summer from early next month. The country's two biggest airliners ― Korean Air and Asiana Airlines ― have temporarily eased their strict dress codes from early this month to keep workers' productivity intact.
In contrast, financial companies are sticking to relatively strict dress codes in the belief that being dressed neatly will help bolster customers' confidence in them and, above all, in order to keep employees alert in service.
The relaxation of dress codes by many leading companies has boosted sales of clothing and shoe companies.
Online shopping mall Lotte.com saw sales of short pants suitable for office workers surge by 25 percent between May 15 and 21, compared with the same period of last year.
"The hike is largely attributable to the early arrival of summer heat," a Lotte staffer said. "We expect strong sales (of summer office wear) throughout August."