By Calvin Palmer
Casual Friday has long been an established practice in America, where office employees are allowed to turn up to work in jeans and t-shirts. But a firm in England has gone a step further and held a Naked Friday.
David Taylor, a business psychologist, told workers at design and marketing onebestway, in Newcastle upon Tyne, northeast England, that a Naked Friday idea would boost their team spirit.
He was called in by the firm after six employees were forced into taking redundancies at the start of the credit crunch.
Taylor said that stripping off their clothes could also strip away inhibitions, enabling staff to talk to each other more openly and honestly.
He said: “Inviting an organisation to go naked is the most extreme technique I’ve used. It may seem weird but it works. It’s the ultimate expression of trust in yourself and each other.”
Initially, there was some reluctance on the part of the normally prudish British but nearly all the staff took off their clothes.
One man, there is always one, wore a posing pouch and two women kept their black underwear.
Sam Jackson, 23, the house manager, was the only woman to go fully naked. She said: “It was brilliant. Now that we’ve seen each other naked, there are no barriers.
“We weren’t put under pressure. If we wanted to come in clothed, or just wear our underwear, we could. But I love my body and wasn’t ashamed.
“We’re all beautiful, whether we’ve got big bodies or small ones.”
Cerebral palsy sufferer Jackson said: “It took a week of David being in the office for us to build up courage. The first few steps were very nerve-racking but, once I got to my desk and got used to it, I felt totally comfortable.
“It was emotional but we found we were much more able to talk to each other honestly – and have been since. The company has improved massively.”
The experiment in April was filmed for a one-off TV show, Naked Office, to be screened on July 9 on cable channel Virgin 1.
[Based on a report by The Daily Telegraph.]