Professionals in Shanghai left their formal suits in the closet yesterday, choosing instead T-shirts and sneakers for the coming Cool Week activity.
White-collar workers in the Lujiazui financial district of the Pudong area will work at 26 C rather than 24 C temperatures in a five-day effort to reduce energy consumption.
The Lujiazui Building Association, organizer of the temporarily relaxed dress code, said its purpose is to save energy at a time when consumption is a big demand.
Some employees welcomed the opportunity to come to work in casual summer wear.
"I feel pretty good in casual wear," Mao Yu, a manager of General Motor China Company, said.
"And, it also saves electricity.
"A change in physical appearance in the office eases work pressure," he said.
Mao was clad in a white T-shirt and cotton trousers.
Mao said the dress code has not been relaxed enough to allow sleeveless and collarless shirts, or sandals.
The 150 companies of more than 4,000 employees in Jinmao Tower have responded to the appeal.
Another 32 high-rise buildings within the Lujiazui Area are also participating in Cool-Week.
But, not everyone will take up the chance to be a little more comfortable at work.
A 25-year-old woman surnamed Zhao who works at a management fund company is dressed in her regular business attire of black suit and high heels.
"This change in appearance might affect a colleague's or even an executive's equilibrium," Zhao said. "We need to display an image of professionalism and respect for our clients through appropriate attire maintaining proper business etiquette is important to us."
Some, however, believe there are advantages to casual wear in the office.
A 25-year-old woman surnamed Gong, who works on the other side of the river in Jin An district, hopes her advertising company will adopt business casual attire as a matter of policy.
"A new look could bring new ideas every day," Gong said.
A total 500,000 kWh of electricity will be saved during the initiative, equal to the combined monthly electricity bills of almost 30,000 households, Xinhua News Agency said.
(China Daily July 22, 2008)