Decision is a plus for workers and the environment.

Spring is the start of the business, academic, and political year in Japan, so it’s when organizations roll out new rules and policies. For example, Ehime Prefecture just announced a new dress code for civil servants, and it includes a very big change: no more neckties.

In recent years, many Japanese offices have started “cool biz” programs, allowing workers to wear cooler, more casual attire during the warmer parts of the year so air conditioners can be turned down to reduce energy consumption and help the environment. In Ehime, the cool biz period last year ran from May to October, but as of this month, it’s a year-long program, meaning that prefectural employees are no longer required to wear neckties.

With civil service having a particularly strong aura of earnestness within Japan’s already earnest work culture, this is a big deal. Walk into just about any government office in Japan, and you’ll see legions of clerks dressed in white dress shirts buttoned firmly at the collar with a likewise firmly tied tie around their necks. Ehime figures it’s time to change that, though, with the prefectural personnel division issuing a statement that “In Ehime, workstyles have been evolving with greater implementation of telework, staggered start times, and flex time systems, so we have introduced a new clothing policy to fit with the current times.”

Reactions on Twitter have been overwhelmingly positive.

“Come to think of it, what’s the point of a necktie in the first place?”
“A necktie is just a fashion accessory, but you don’t really wear accessories while working, right? It just gets in the way.”
“It’s feeling less and less weird to see people working without neckties, so I hope other companies do this too.”
“Very smart move by Ehime.”
“The whole country, no, the whole world, should have no-necktie dress codes!”

Ties aren’t going to completely disappear from the necks of civil servants, as they’ll still be required at formal reception and ceremonies. For day-to-day work, though, they’ll be optional, and odds are the vast majority of workers aren’t going to miss them.

Source: Nankai Hoso via Yahoo! Japan News, Twitter, Nihon Keizai Shimbun via Jin
Top image: Pakutaso
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